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Abandoned: Book summary and reviews of Abandoned by Anne Kim

Abandoned

America's Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection

by Anne Kim

Abandoned by Anne Kim X
Abandoned by Anne Kim
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About this book

Book Summary

A deeply affecting exposé of America's hidden crisis of disconnected youth, in the tradition of Matthew Desmond and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc.

For the majority of young adults today, the transition to independence is a time of excitement and possibility. But nearly five million young people—or a stunning 11.7 percent of youth aged sixteen to twenty-four—experience entry into adulthood as abrupt abandonment, a time of disconnection from school, work, and family. For this growing population of Americans, which includes kids aging out of foster care and those entangled with the justice system, life screeches to a halt when adulthood arrives. Abandoned is the first-ever exploration of this tale of dead ends and broken dreams.

Journalist Anne Kim skillfully weaves heart-rending stories of young people navigating early adulthood alone, in communities where poverty is endemic and opportunities almost nonexistent. She then describes a growing awareness—including new research from the field of adolescent brain science—that "emerging adulthood" is just as crucial a developmental period as early childhood, and she profiles an array of unheralded programs that provide young people with the supports they need to achieve self-sufficiency.

A major work of deeply reported narrative nonfiction, Abandoned joins the small shelf of books that change the way we see our society and point to a different path forward.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Although rich in statistics that support its positions, the narrative is never wonky, and the author enlivens the text with miniprofiles of beneficiaries of high-impact programs. An outstanding book for policymakers and people who work with adrift young people." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[Kim] presents strong evidence that "emerging adulthood" is a critical developmental period in people's lives, and persuasively indicts the failures of the child welfare, juvenile justice, and public school systems. Policy makers and social justice advocates will find valuable insights in this sobering, well-sourced examination." - Publishers Weekly

"In defiance of stereotypes of lazy and unmotivated youth, Kim depicts young people who are eager to break into the workforce but face personal and structural obstacles that sabotage their efforts at every turn...[A] smart, solutions-focused examination of an often-overlooked social crisis." - Booklist

"Anne Kim has written an urgent exposé of the disparities of opportunity that impact young people in today's economy and job market. In the same way as Matthew Desmond detailed the lives impacted by evictions, so Kim explores the lost opportunities afforded impoverished young Americans. For all who care about social justice, this is a must-read." - Sasha Abramsky, author of The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives

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Author Information

Anne Kim

Anne Kim is a writer, lawyer, and public policy expert with a long career in Washington, DC–based think tanks working in and around Capitol Hill. She is also a contributing editor at Washington Monthly, where she was a senior writer. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Governing, TheAtlantic.com, the Wall Street Journal, Democracy, and numerous other publications. She lives in northern Virginia.

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