If you like your YA literature gritty and urban, consider one of the earliest choices that meet those criteria: A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich.’  Alice Childress’ novel explores the world of a young heroin addict, at a time when there was no DARE, no “Just Say No”, and few options.’  And in exposing the lack of options, Childress gives us a chilling look at how urban life used to be–yet it’s a world that doesn’t feel that distant from today’s cities.

A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich
Alice Childress
Published 1973

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