The Prince of Venice Beach
By Blake Nelson
Publication date: June 3, 2014
Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 240 pages
Robert “‘Cali” Callahan is a teen runaway, living on the streets of Venice Beach, California. He’s got a pretty sweet life: a treehouse to sleep in, a gang of surf bros, a regular basketball game…even a girl who’s maybe-sorta interested in him.
What he doesn’t have is a plan.
All that changes when a local cop recommends Cali to a private investigator who is looking for a missing teenager. After all, Cali knows everyone in Venice. But the streets are filled with people who don’t want to be found, and when he’s hired to find the beautiful Reese Abernathy, who would do anything to stay hidden, Cali must decide where his loyalties truly lie.
— Goodreads.com description
The Prince of Venice Beach read just like its narrator’s personality: straightforward, easygoing and simple — but not in a dumb way.
I love how the voice and tone so perfectly fit Cali, who was a fantastic main character. He doesn’t wallow in his circumstances; instead, he makes the best of his situation and finds ways to improve himself.
In terms of plot, it might be a stretch, but I’d almost call it “boy Veronica Mars.” It was a bit out of my comfort zone (lack of kissing alert!), but I still enjoyed it. I hate the phrase “boy book” or “girl book” because I don’t believe there is such a thing…but I loved finding a book I, as a girly-girl reader, enjoyed and would absolutely recommend to boy readers as well.