Free Lunch (Paperback)

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Free Lunch By Rex Ogle Cover Image

Free Lunch (Paperback)

$9.95


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(YA)

Staff Reviews


Stunning, heartbreakingly real and at once a strong, unflinching story of poverty and socioeconomic inequities that haunt us in our imperfect country. Violence against children, homelessness and food insecurity will weigh on your heart as Rex tells his story. His story is more powerful because he is not alone, as this is an all-too-common theme in some households. A truly superb memoir and one that will never be forgotten. 

(Young adult memoir, ages 12+) — From Staff Picks by Maureen

— Maureen

Winner of the 2020 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award.


Instead of giving him lunch money, Rex’s mom has signed him up for free meals. As a poor kid in a wealthy school district, better-off kids crowd impatiently behind him as he tries to explain to the cashier that he’s on the free meal program. The lunch lady is hard of hearing, so Rex has to shout.

Free Lunch is the story of Rex’s efforts to navigate his first semester of sixth grade—who to sit with, not being able to join the football team, Halloween in a handmade costume, classmates and a teacher who take one look at him and decide he’s trouble—all while wearing secondhand clothes and being hungry. His mom and her boyfriend are out of work, and life at home is punctuated by outbursts of violence. Halfway through the semester, his family is evicted and ends up in government-subsidized housing in view of the school. Rex lingers at the end of last period every day until the buses have left, so no one will see where he lives.


Unsparing and realistic, Free Lunch is a story of hardship threaded with hope and moments of grace. Rex’s voice is compelling and authentic, and Free Lunch is a true, timely, and essential work that illuminates the lived experience of poverty in America.



Rex Ogle is the author of Free Lunch, which won the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award; Abuela, Don’t Forget Me, a finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award; and Punching Bag, a NYPL Best Book of the Year. Rex lives in Los Angeles.

Product Details ISBN: 9781324016946
ISBN-10: 1324016949
Publisher: Norton Young Readers
Publication Date: August 17th, 2021
Pages: 224
Language: English