This one is all about survival

Youth, for Sarah Lotz's lead characters, is a time of sheer stupidity.

Youth, for Sarah Lotz's lead characters, is a time of sheer stupidity.

Vicki and Sage, both in their teens, arrive in the famed city of love, Paris, with just the clothes in their backpacks, having fled their homes after burning down a room in their art college.

Sage is the troubled, lazy and possessive half of the two, while Vicki is the gullible one who tries to make their stay in Paris a little more comfortable. This often leaves her in sticky and compromising situations.

Soon they find themselves broke and homeless after they are thrown out by the only friend they had in the city.

This stroke of tragedy leads to a series of adventures, some they come to regret.

Living on an unhealthy diet of cigarettes and cheap wine, which they bum off complete strangers, they find themselves at the mercy of unscrupulous and weird characters such as pseudo art agent Bob and dope fiend Hervé.

Slowly they are drawn into the sleazy side of Paris and its outcasts. The Pompidou Posse of the title refers to a group of hoboes they befriend who regularly hang outside a well-known art centre in the city.

Survival means begging, stealing, indulging in more cheap wine and drugs, dodging the cops, eating expired food from soup kitchens, literally stealing candy from babies and brushing off the sexual advances of some of the tackiest, scariest and most dangerous characters imaginable.

The girls' stay in Paris does not only test their survival skills but also their friendship as they have to deal with dangerous secrets and the perils of their chosen life.

Lotz's novel makes light of a serious situation and allows the reader to live vicariously through a life of hopeless abandon, introducing them to some of the strangest, funniest and unforgettable characters in fiction.