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This question already has an answer here:

I may not remember enough for this question to be answered.

I read this book 2 years ago; I grabbed it from a classroom library because I needed a book to read. It was definitely on the older end - at least, the copy looked like it had seen better days. I remember enjoying it, which is odd because I dislike most dystopian books - I think I grabbed it because the cover was interesting? I don't remember. It was definitely a middle grade or YA book - for kids, anyway.

It was very short (150 pages or less) and a cheap paperback. The protagonist was a younger teenager, who was living on the streets for some significant percentage of the novel. He met up with a much older man who taught him stuff (I think how to read) in this hut/hovel thing. I remember books being very important (but in a different way than Fahrenheit 451 - no one really knew how to read, I think). I think the main character narrated in first person, and it was in a sort of slang, along the lines of that in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, though again, not entirely sure.

The novel ends with the older man being burned alive/tortured to death, I think, and the boy just runs off into the darkness.

I keep kind of associating this book with Freak the Mighty for whatever reason, but I don't know why, as I know they have very different plots.

marked as duplicate by Otis, Valorum story-identification Jul 10 at 21:57

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  • This makes me think of The Giver, but I never read the book, so I have no idea whether it's actually similar to the description here. – Arcanist Lupus Jul 3 at 7:07
  • @ArcanistLupus I can see similarities too for sure, but I know it's not The Giver or any of its sequels. – heather Jul 3 at 7:10
  • Not a perfect fit, but maybe "Ties of Blood and Silver" from Joel Rosenberg? fantasticfiction.com/r/joel-rosenberg/… – Mark Schäfer Jul 4 at 10:00
  • @MarkSchäfer The fact that there's a completely nonhuman creature ("twice the size of a human, more than twice as strong, with frightfully glowing eyes and rows of needle-sharp teeth") does not sound right to me. I don't think that's it. Thank you though! – heather Jul 4 at 10:53
  • Could it be "The last book in the universe" by Philbrick? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Book_in_the_Universe – C.F Jul 5 at 12:41
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It could be The Last Book in the Universe, by Philbrick.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Book_in_the_Universe

The protagonist was a younger teenager, who was living on the streets for some significant percentage of the novel.

The hero, Spaz, is a young boy of 14 who has epilepsy, and lives in slums, called "latches".

He met up with a much older man who taught him stuff (I think how to read) in this hut/hovel thing. I remember books being very important (but in a different way than Fahrenheit 451 - no one really knew how to read, I think).

He tries to steal from an old man, Ryter, who is the last person to know how to read ("possesses the lost arts of literacy and literature").

I think the main character narrated in first person, and it was in a sort of slang,

The whole book uses "sci-fi slang" to describe things: the Urb are the US, to "rip-off" is to steal, a latch-boss is a gang leader, ...

The end also fits, as

the old man is killed, while being wheeled by jetbikes.

found with the key words "boy meeting mentor in the streets books"

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    Might be worth adding that I associated it with Freak the Mighty because the author's the same =) Thanks a bunch! – heather Jul 5 at 15:10

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