Theresa Nelson lived for summer in Atlantic City basement apartment with her husband and her three suns. The notorious boardwalk left an indible impression.
Theresa Nelson is also the author of The Beggars' Ride, Earthshine, and
And One For All.
Now she lives in Sherman Oaks, California.
Clare is a twelve year old girl, who lives together with her mother and her mother's boyfriend Sid. As a result of the situation at home she wants to go to Atlantic City to find her real father Joey and to live with him. So she leaves her house one night and travels to Atlantic City by bus. There she goes to the address, which she has on the letters he has written to her and when she finds the address she notices that it is the Atlantic Jack's Hot Dog Place. There she asks an old man if Joey Morgan was living her, but the man denies. So she has to sleep on a playground where a youth gang finds her. Cowboy, Thimble, Racer, Shoe and Little Dog decide to take Clare with them. They earn their living by stealing food and pick pocketing. After six weeks Cowboy decides to make a test with Clare to prove if she is able to be a real member of the gang. She has to make a plan for a robbery into a shop or a restaurant by herself. All the others say, that they should rob the Atlantic Jack's Hot Dog Place, but in the beginning Clare, who is named Fish in the gang, because she does not want to say her real name, does not want to agree to this hint, but in the end the others convince her and so she invents a plan. First they go in little groups of two into the restaurant and then all of them start to dance or to cry. So the people in the restaurant are inattentive and so Clare has got the possibility to come into the room with the inscription No Admittance which she has noticed at her first visit. When the others start their actions, she opens the door, but as a result of the thunderstorm outside the light goes off when she enters the room so that she falls down the stairs and breaks her left arm and has a cut on her head. After a while the old man comes into the room and Clare rushes into another part of it to hide. When the man turns the light on and finds her, she notices, that she hides under an old plane. When he asks her what she has done down here she says that she wanted to go to the toilet, but she took the wrong door. The old man, named A.J., takes her to hospital. On the same day he comes with Mr. Griffey, who works for a youth organization, to visit her. Cowboy has already warned Clare of this guy, but he has never mentioned any reasons. Mr. Griffey wants Clare live with children of her own age, but she refuses, because she wants to stay with A.J., who has turned out as Joey's father. One night Cowboy and the other group-members stay in front of Clare's window. She explains them, that she cannot stay with them because then she might loose Joey forever, but she can bring them Hot Dogs every night. After some days the old man gives her a possible address of Joey in California and she writes to this address, and now she has just got the possibility to wait. Clare takes more and more Hot Dogs for her friends, until Santiago, a man who works for A.J., says, that he knows everything about the night, she fell down the stairs, and that she is steals food.
Mr. Griffey comes in one day and tells Clare, that he has spoken to her mother and that she wants her to come back, but the girl does not want to. So she leaves the old man and joins the gang again. Shoe feels sick one day, but the group has not got enough money to buy a medicine. So Racer decides to break into a drugstore, although all the children say, that it is much too risky. The others are right, because the police catches him. So the rest of the gang stays in front of the policestation in an old car to wait for Racer. Now Cowboy tells Clare why he is afraid of Mr. Griffey. When Cowboy's mother was dead, his father invited friends and he had to be "friendly" to them. One of these friends was Mr. Griffey and in the further talk it turned out, that Thimble had the same destiny. So when this man comes to the policestation and wants to take Racer with him, Cowboy frees his friend. When they arrive at one of their sleeping possibilities, they find a family with a pregnant mother there. As a result of a little unintentional fight Cowboy is hurt by a knife. When the gang notices that they rush to A.J. because his plane is the only possibility to come into a hospital which is out of range for Mr. Griffey. After a short discussion A.J. decides to help the children and flies them into a hospital in Norristown. There they can help Shoe quite easily, but Cowboy has lost much blood. After a while the doctors start to ask questions about the knife-cut and why Cowboy came into this hospital. So Clare tries to convince Thimble to talk about Mr. Griffey, but Thimble says no, because she thinks, that Clare has got no idea what it means to talk about such things. But then Clare tells Thimble that she has been treaten in the same way by Sid, the boyfriend of her mother. So she convinces Thimble to talk about the reason why they have come into this hospital.
So Mr. Griffey is searched by the police and when Cowboy feels well again they move away. Shoe still feels sick and so the doctors decide to bring him into a hospital, which is specialized on such cases. Racer goes with Little Dog to a group home on a farm, whereas Cowboy and Thimble go to foster parents. Clare calls her mum up, and she says, that she has changed. She mentions, that she has left Sid and that she has stopped drinking. After this phone call, Joey calls at the Hot Dog restaurant. But he does not feel happy about the fact that Clare wants to come, because he is living with his girlfriend in a quite little apartment. So Clare is shocked in some way and she decides to go back to live with her mother.
The main Character is Clare. She is twelve years old, takes $44 from her drunken mother's purse and runs away from an abusive home situation to find the one adult who seemes to care for her, her mother's ex-boyfriend ......She finds herself stranded in the sleazy world of Atlantic City and meets a group of similar misfits What follows is a riveting adventure populated by a cat of homeless...teens..... Nelson's characters leap to life
The message of this book is hard to say, because it is an adventure story, and several life stations are mentioned.
There are the problems of getting in relationship with the wrong kind of people
There is the wish of a twelve year old girl, who wants to find her father in this "small world", without thinking about the risks.
The book The Beggars' Ride is devides into several chapters, and written in the style of a novel. The book is written in 3rd person, and some dialogoues are used to give the readers a better impression of the plot.
This is a survival adventure in the truest sense, and it's sure to keep readers on the edge for their seats.