About ten years ago, I read a book that follows the adventures of a group of orphans. I've been looking for it for some number of years, but I can't really piece the story back together. I still recall the setting: a future version of a very big city in which most cars drive by themselves and there is a heavy focus on spacefaring. Whilst I've forgotten most of the story, there are still some pieces of it that I remember:
In the beginning of the story, we witness an accident of a self-driving car. For some reason the driver has to take control of the wheel, but since he doesn't know how to drive, he crashes the car, which had been full of orphans on their way to an orphanage.
In order to be able to stay in the orphanage, the children must execute some tasks. There is mention of an afternoon spent at the movie theatre with impressive 3D capabilities where the kids have to watch adverts and fill in a query gauging their responses to the videos.
At the end of the day, the children get their food. The food is picked up cheaply from a military dump or something like that. Not only is the food is edible, but so too are the containers, which are consumed by the orphans. The taste of the food is foul, which is also why it is so cheap.
As this is not such a good life, some of the orphans make an attempt at escaping. They are hunted down, and at one point one of the children is shot by a drone with a drug. As a remedy, the kids have him eat a rotten loaf of bread.
As my memory is fairly vague about this book, it is possible some of these story elements have been altered during my long mental attempts at reconstructing the film.