Sleeping in My Jeans

Sleeping in My Jeans

by Connie King Leonard


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Sixteen-year-old Mattie Rollins has it all figured out. She'll ace her advanced high school courses, earn a college scholarship, and create a new life for herself and her family. There's no time for distractions—no friends, no fun, and especially no boys.

But Mattie's brilliant plan crumbles after first becoming homeless, forcing her family to live in the confines of their beat-up station wagon, Ruby, and then the mysterious disappearance of her mother. With life against her at every turn and fewer options every day, Mattie and her kid sister must learn how to live—not just survive—in their uncertain circumstances while racing to discover the truth behind their mother’s disappearance. Mattie will have to find the strength to keep searching for her mother and to keep her dreams alive before they both slip away forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781947845008
Publisher: Ooligan Press
Publication date: 11/13/2018
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 747,253
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Connie King Leonard is a writer of books for children and teens. She holds degrees in education from Minot State University and the University of Oregon, and has taught both elementary and middle school. With an estimated 21,000 homeless students in the Oregon school system this year alone, her years teaching provided the inspiration for this novel. Sleeping in My Jeans works to give these children a voice and a story.

Read an Excerpt

“Get out!” A tall, gray-haired man dressed in baggy brown slacks and a heavy gray sweater stands on the doorstep of the nearest house. He thrusts out his arm and points down the street like he’s telling a dog to go home. “Go away.” The old man throws his anger at us in a thin raspy voice. “Don’t you be parking here.”

I stand next to Ruby and stare at the old man. He points at us like we’re not human. Like we’re animals who don’t deserve anything but a dog house or a barn out back.

Mom quickly sets the new battery on the ground, unlocks Ruby, and tosses in her pack. If that old geezer really wants us to leave, he should come out and help or at least lend us some better tools. Instead, he stands at the door and yells, “This is a nice neighborhood with good people.”

The bolts on the old battery are rusted, and the pliers aren’t very strong. Mom pushes and tugs and pulls, trying to get the battery loose.

What does the old coot mean by “good people?” Are Mom, Meg, and I bad now that we live in our car? Or does he think I am a bad person because my skin isn’t as white as his?

The old man gets cold standing on his front porch. He steps back inside his warm house and stands in front of his giant living room window glaring out at us. Mom gets the old battery unhooked and I help her lift it out. We heft the new one in, settling it in place. Mom screws the bolts as best she can.

We climb in and Mom sits in the driver’s seat with her hand on the ignition for several seconds before she works up the courage to turn the key. Dear, sweet Ruby rumbles back to life. Mom lays her head on the steering wheel and cries.

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Sleeping in My Jeans 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When sixteen-year-old Mattie’s becomes homeless along with her six-year-old sister Meg and their mother, Rita (whose boyfriend abused her), we escape to the streets with them. Sleeping in their car in unwelcoming neighborhoods, our stomachs churn along with Mattie’s when facing dangers that can pound on their windows. Mattie is a good student, working hard to earn a college scholarship so she can eventually take care of her mom and sister. We put ourselves in Mattie’s skin. If you slept in your car where would you wash up in the morning before school? If you had to make emergency purchases, what would you do to make money stretch enough so you could also eat? How do you cope with the shame and frustration of trying to finish homework assignments? And if a cute boy at school is interested in you, do you hide your homelessness from him? When you wish you could sleep in a motel room at night, do you yell at your mom who is working weekends and late shifts to save up for an apartment’s deposit and first and last month’s rent? How do Mattie, Meg, and Rita navigate between those who prey on the vulnerable, those who might report them to child services, and those who might offer them a safe place to spend the night? I didn’t turn off the lights until I’d finished this YA book. I’m recommending Sleeping in My Jeans to my reading friends and family and to my book club.