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Off the Grid

Off the Grid

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Off the Grid

88 pages
53 minutes
May 1, 2015


Sixteen-year-old Cody was born and raised “off the grid” deep in the wilderness by idealistic parents. When his father becomes seriously ill, the family is forced to move into the city so he can get treatment. Attending high school for the first time, Cody is an oddity and has a hard time adjusting. He finds unlikely allies in DeMarco, an inner-city kid, and Ernest, a philosophical homeless man, and he begins a tentative friendship with Alexis. When he comes to DeMarco’s defense in an altercation at school, Cody finds himself in trouble with the police. A second confrontation puts Cody in more trouble with the cops, and he is convinced he must escape to the family homestead or be arrested. But Cody is torn between fleeing the city or staying with his ailing father and facing whatever consequences come his way.
May 1, 2015

Despre autor

Lesley Choyce is the author of over ninety books. He has won the Dartmouth Book Award, the Atlantic Poetry Prize, and the Ann Connor Brimer Award, and has been shortlisted for the Governor General's Award. He lives in East Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia.

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Off the Grid - Lesley Choyce



Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen


Chapter One

It all happened so quickly. When my dad got sick, we had to move to the city so he could get treatment in the hospital. None of us had seen this coming. Especially me.

So I traded the wilderness for the city. My home for some crappy apartment. My life alone in the woods with my family for this insanity of city life and going to a big high school. Nothing could have prepared me for it. Nothing. It was like a bad dream. But it wasn’t a dream. It was real. Too real.

On my first day at Citadel High, I felt like I was on another planet. I was a freak, a sixteen-year-old freak who had grown up in the woods. Off the grid, as my father liked to say. The clothes I wore were secondhand, given to me by the Cancer Society, which was taking care of us. My regular clothes would have made me stand out even more than I already did. I hated what I had to wear. My mom said I didn’t have a choice. I had to go to school. My dad wasn’t well enough to continue with my homeschooling, and my mom said she was too upset to help me with my schoolwork.

So I arrived at school on my own, first thing in the morning on our third day in town. The hallways were filled with kids shouting and bumping into each other. They all looked at me and they could tell I was lost and hopeless in this zoo. I’d been lost before in the forest, but it was never like this. I could always find my way home. The wind, the sun, even the birds could guide me. But here I had no guides. This was lost lost.

And I hated to admit it, but I was scared.

I didn’t even know where I was supposed to go or what I was supposed to do. I was about to bail on the whole crappy thing when someone walked up to me. A big guy, maybe a head taller than me and thick around the neck. He stood in front of me and just looked at me, a smirk on his face. Holy Christ, he said, staring at me. Where did you come from? He sniffed the air. When was the last time you had a bath?

Some other students were watching. They began to laugh. I wanted to run. I just didn’t know where to run to.

Then this girl who had pink hair and a piece of metal stuck across her nose walked up and jabbed an elbow in the gut of the tough guy in front of me. Leave him alone, Austin, she said. I know you can’t help being a jerk, but lighten up.

I couldn’t help but notice she had some words painted on the back of her neck: Wild at Heart. I think maybe she scared me more than big Austin, but at least she was trying to help.

Austin snorted once, just like a bear I had met in the woods one summer. Then shot me a look that said this wasn’t over. But he left.

The girl looked at me. You must be autistic or something,

What? I asked.

"Oh, so you do speak English. Got a name?"

Cody, I said. Cody Graham.

Kids were still looking at me, at us.

She didn’t seem to care, but I felt like I had bugs crawling on me.

I gotta get to class. Where do you need to be?

I don’t know. I’ve never been here before.

I’ll take you to the office.


In the office, I saw a kid with a nose-bleed and a girl who was crying. She kept repeating, But I lost my iPhone, over and over.

There was this loud noise and I jumped. The girl shook her head. It’s just the bell, Moonboy. I gotta go. See that guy in there? She pointed to a small inner office. That’s Mr. Costanzo, one of the vice-principals. Talk to him. He’ll know what to do. She squeezed my arm and then left.

I stood in the doorway to his office. Mr. Costanzo was sitting

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