In Todd Strasser's book Can't Get There From Here, main character and narrator Maybe, whose real name is Jesse, is about sixteen years old. She has been living on the streets for quite some time. Her mother used to use her mostly as a convenient babysitter for her three younger siblings, but as Maybe grows older, her mother tells her to leave and make her own way because then there will be one less mouth to feed. Maybe is also the victim of her mother's drunken rages, and she even has a scar on her back in the shape of an iron where he mother struck and burned her.
Maybe lives with a group of other young people, but as the story progresses, one young person after another dies: one of drugs, another of suicide, yet another of murder. A couple members of the street “family” simply disappear. Maybe is left with only twelve-year-old Tears, who is still innocent but is living on the streets because she was abused by her stepfather.
Maybe becomes determined to help Tears get off the streets and find a real home. Because Maybe herself is so young, she doesn't really know how to do that, but she becomes friends with a man named Anthony, who treats her with respect and does his best to help Maybe even though she has a hard time trusting him at first. Eventually Anthony finds Tears's grandparents and makes sure the girl gets to their home, for they want their granddaughter and will take care of her. Anthony then convinces Maybe to live in a group home for a while. She doesn't want to, because of all the rules, but Anthony convinces her that the situation is only temporary, and it will help Maybe find her way in life.