Cover Image: If You See Them

If You See Them

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Member Reviews

Thank you to the published & author for the ARC — I am providing an honest review on my own accord.

While I appreciate what the author has done with her nonprofit organization to assist unhoused youth in Florida, this felt a lot like a book that promotes white saviorism and it felt condescending and patronizing at times. I agree that we should extend more grace, compassion, and participate in community care when we notice a potential unhoused kid, but the author comes from an incredibly privileged background, so I do think the wealthy need to step up, just like Vicki has done.

I absolutely think we need more advocates for unhoused youth especially in America, and who better than someone well-connected and who has the financial resources to do so? I get that. However, I think I would have rather read a compilation of narratives from the unhoused folks themselves, rather than having so much of the focus be on the author’s perspective.

If this is your very first venture into learning about unhoused folks in America, I say go for it. It’s informative, you do get to hear from a handful of unhoused kids who are part of the author’s program, and hopefully it will inspire you to do something about this crisis in your local community. If you are already pretty well versed on the topic though, I’d say you could probably skip this.

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An important book about young homeleness in the US. The tone of the book wasn't my cup of tea, it sounded quite patronising for me. Nevertheless, still an important topic to read about.

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Vicki Sokolik is a gifted storyteller and relentless advocate for a vulnerable sub-section of homeless, called "unaccompanied homeless youth." The legislation her organization Starting Right, Now (SRN) is responsible for in Florida is brilliant, and the kids she highlights here are heartbreaking and inspiring. I love that she also shares about her own family's struggles, financial and medical.

Checking state by state unhoused youth statistics, I was expecting Florida to be a leader but it's actually listed 6th, while my own state of California leads. A book like this is such a treasure, entertaining, challenging and illuminating all at once.

Please check out SRN's website here

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As a voracious (at least trying to be) reader, I am always excited to learn about new things. There have been a fair number of books about and by people below poverty line, foster youth, etc that I'm familiar with but this concept of an unaccompanied youth that fall and yet don't fall into any of these demographics was entirely foreign to me, This book has a healthy amount of human touch aka individual stories of youths helped by the nonprofit the author created and a healthy amount of general and legal education about this hidden population. My only negative feedback is it would have been interesting to hear more about the kids that the program couldn't help. It would have felt slightly more real that way. But either way, still a really interesting read.

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An important book that delves into a very serious issue. The stories in here demonstrate how society too often fails its most vulnerable people and how they can help.

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WOW! What an inspirational read! This book opened my eyes to the epidemic of unhoused youths in our country and it broke my heart. It made me want to start a similar non-profit in Indianapolis! Hearing directly from some of the youths that Vicki and her organization so greatly impact, as well as Vicki's own story over the years - so compelling! This book will be with me for a long time, and I am hoping it spurs me on to concrete action that will make a difference in our world.

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I have no words for this other than wow! Working in a hospital setting we come into contact with homeless personnel all the time. This book has pilled my eyes & really made me think just how the rest of the world is and works aside from my bubble. I loved the insight and message.

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What a complete honor to read this book!
Every social worker, teacher, medical professional anyone who would come in contact with homeless youth needs to read this book !
What an amazing author to have such a struggle in her child’s health and be involved with helping so many kids not her own. The SRN kid’s stories will forever stay with me as well as the compassionate honesty of the author. Vicki really truly understands what these kids go through in the difficulty to trust and break the old memory tapes when adapting to the SRN program.
Amanda, Shaq, Courtney and everyone else who wrote their stories to co author this book thank you .

Thank you to Cori for her bravery and sharing her story .
This is the human experience it can give us challenges in many ways and forms .

Vicki you are a rock star !!!

So strange to feel “ sorry “ for these kids and forgetting that I was once one myself .
My ACE score was higher than I would have guessed.

Thank you NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review .

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This book has so much good and helpful information that so many people need to know. I spent time in college working in a youth homeless shelter, but I learned so much more about homeless youth in America through this book.

My only complaint was that I felt like a lot of the information about the authors personal life didn’t really add to the point of the book. Some of it to understand her perspective was fine but I felt like a lot of it could have been left out of this book.

Overall an important book!

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If you are connected to education in any way, shape, or form, you absolutely must read If You See Them. Whether educators realize it or not, homeless, unaccompanied youths are in all of our communities and schools and desperately need our help. Vicki Sokolik weaves a compassionate and compelling narrative of the kids that she has met and describes how knowing them has enriched both their lives and hers. I will be purchasing this title for ALL of the counselors in my school district! Don't miss this one!

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This book was hard to read. Not difficult, but rather hard emotionally, much like Tara Westover's Educated. To learn details of homeless/at-risk minors was eye-opening, but to learn how some of their lives were changed through the caring and advocacy of others, was heartwarming.
Not all situations are created equal, but having having help from others can make a difference.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this important book.

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Very interesting. It made me aware of a whole segment of the population that I knew little about. This issue needs to be dealt with in all of our towns and cities. More organizations like this are needed.

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If You See Them is a book that will stay with me for a long time. Before reading this, I had a very limited understanding of this lost group of youth. This isn't a journalist's expose on the issue, but rather one woman's telling of how she came to be involved and what her nonprofit does. You learn a lot through stories of specific youth involved in the SRN program.

I struggled a little bit with why Vicki's story was included and how it fit into the greater book. I had a lot of concerns initially with a white savior complex being at play in this book, but I believe she included her own story to show her progression from naivity and a "self focused" complex to a greater understanding of the dynamic and complex issue. However, I did not love it being folded in between chapters about SRN.

As a teacher, I strongly recommend this to anyone who works in a profession that interacts with youth in any way. It's a book all lawmakers, teachers, doctors, and social workers definitely need to read.

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The tone given by the author in the beginning of the book bothered me.
There were honestly a few times I thought about just putting it down. I feel like the author gave too much information about herself and how she grew up very privileged. Once or twice would have been enough for the reader to understand where she came from. I felt at times it had a pretentious vibe.

That being said, I also saw her compassion. Her drive and her advocacy for these youth. When they would reach a roadblock, she kept trying other avenues. This problem of unaccompanied youth not having the resources they need to try to live a successful life is heartbreaking. It really was an eye opener that these kids exist out there. Thank you Vicki for fighting for these kids, and helping to change the laws to allow these kids access to their vital records, and head in the direction of success.
I want to look into what is being done in my own state, and have since followed Starting Right, Now, on social media to continue to watch their progress!
Vicki and her organization have changed the lives of these kids! And in doing so, also showed them that THEY can change their direction and their future. Starting Right, Now, gives them the resources and guidance to get there and reach their goals/dreams.

I think this is an important read for everyone. Especially teachers. These kids are often misunderstood in the WHY of their actions, their wrongdoings are for survival. They did not ask to be in the positions they are in. It's so sad, honestly.

Thank you NetGalley and Spiegel & Grau for the opportunity to read this and give an honest review. I will be recommending this book to everyone!

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Thank you to Spiegel & Grau and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of this book. I want to state upfront that I did DNF this book at 30% because the tone of the book bothered me.

Vicki Sokolik has done impactful work founding the organization Starting Right Now (SRN) to end homelessness for youth by providing one-on-one mentoring, a stable home, assisting with employment opportunities, teaching financial literacy/life skills and promoting educational achievement. Ms. Sokolik has completed a lot of research on homelessness amongst youth which is demonstrated in the book. She and her family have helped many individuals over many years.

The book came across as very patronizing and an example of white saviorism. This is just my own opinion and I would encourage those who are interested in learning more about homelessness in youth to read this book.

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Vicki Sokolik's passion is to help those in need and quickly learn about unaccompanied homeless youth. This book gives an in-depth experience as Vicki delicately explains the programs and pathways that assist families and minors regarding being unhoused. The story captivates its reader to understand the complexities of human beings and societal structures and start conversations on changing systems that affect society.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC.

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"If You See Them" by Vicki Sokolik offers an emotionally charged and thought-provoking exploration of the heart-wrenching crisis of homeless youth in America. Vicki Sokolik, both a compassionate advocate and a caring mother, weaves a compelling narrative that sheds light on the invisible struggles of unaccompanied homeless youth. Through poignant personal anecdotes and the authentic voices of the young individuals themselves, Sokolik masterfully navigates the complexities of this issue. Her journey from a concerned parent to a determined activist, founding a nonprofit and pushing for legislative change, underscores the power of human connection and the potential for individuals to catalyze transformative societal shifts.

This book dismantles preconceived notions and challenges societal indifference, ultimately fostering a deeper connection between readers and the youth who navigate adversity with resilience and courage.

Vicki Sokolik's unwavering commitment to change echoes throughout the book, igniting a call to action within its readers. Her grassroots efforts demonstrate that compassion, acceptance, and empowerment are catalysts for substantial change. As readers bear witness to the lives of these resilient youth and the systems that often fail them, "If You See Them" compels us to reevaluate our perceptions, engage in crucial conversations, and work towards a more inclusive and compassionate society. This poignant narrative not only enlightens but also inspires, making it an essential read for anyone seeking to understand, empathize with, and amplify the voices of homeless youth in America. Thank you to the author and publisher for the e-arc copy!

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Vicki is a hero in my eyes. Her writing explores her life and the lives of those she has helped survive poverty and homelessness and more. She's a compassionate person and this book is an important look at our society. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

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