Finalist, National Book Awards 2003 for Young People's Literature
A native Californian, Paul Fleischman grew up working as a typesetter for his family's hand printing press. He attended the University of California for two years before setting out to cross the country by train and bicycle. He is an author of numerous books, including works of poetry and historical fiction, and is also a musician and found-object sculptor. More about this author >
Having spent the majority of her life bouncing between foster homes, 17-year-old Audelia “Del” Thigpen is cynical beyond her years and tired of being “Del.” In an attempt to escape both herself and Los Angeles, Del fakes her own death and hits the road. Her escape is hindered when she finds herself in the midst of an all-day traffic jam. Eight years later, it’s the opening night of “Breakout,” Del’s one-woman play. As the narrative switches between present and future, Paul Fleischman traces the path of youthful experience transformed into art.