Children · Katherine Applegate · Stand Alone

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate


Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything? (


crenhawEver since I found out that Katherine Applegate was releasing a new book I was so excitied. I really liked The One and Only Ivan, so I knew I had to pick up her new book.


The plot of Crenshaw revolves around homelessness, which was pretty interesting because we see this through the eyes of a fifth-grader and his 5 year old sister. It is actually a pretty depressing story because we are able to understand how an event like this affects young children and how they attempt to cope with the problem.

Crenshaw is Jackson’s imaginary friend who first appeared to him several years ago, the first time they were homeless and living out of their van. When Jackson sees Crenshaw again several years later he knows it means that things aren’t going well. He notices that his parents are acting strange, but when he confronts them they give him evasive answers.

The plot has a lot to deal with Jackson and trying to figure out why he is seeing Crenshaw again and whether or not he is imaginary, as well as trying to cope with being hungry and missing all of his personal things. Jackson also explains that he is old enough to be told what is going on and is upset with his parents for treating him like a child.

I thought the story was really interesting and depressing; however, Crenshaw added a bit of humor to the story with his attention getting antics. It moves at a great pace and I was interested in the story the entire time. I really felt bad for them and could never imagine being in that type of situation.

This is one of those books that should be on every shelf because it brings the problem of homelessness to light and makes it more personal.


All the characters were well developed especially Jackson and Crenshaw. We learn a lot about him as soon as the story begins, which helps to develop a connection to the character. This way the story was more emotional for me because I knew enough about him to make him a real person.

Crenshaw is a hilarious, imaginary cat who just loves purple jelly beans! He also loves getting attention and does everything he can think of to get it. Crenshaw also hates dogs and doesn’t understand why anyone would want one. He is definitely a great character that helped to lighten the overall mood of the story.


The story is written in first person in the POV of the main character, Jackson. I actually enjoy reading in first person because I believe, when done correctly, it makes the story much more personal.

The story begins in the present, but there is an entire section of the book that explains what happened the first time the family was homeless and then switches back to the current time.

Overall Thoughts

This is a great, if rather depressing story, about homelessness and the affects in can have on young children. The book was entertaining, interesting, and well written, and I would recommend it to anyone 8 and older.

My Rating: 5/5 stars!

Check out these other reviews of this book by fellow bloggers!

The Book Wars

Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup

Get Your Book On

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