What happens to the children that the world throws away? They become animals. Tayshawn Torres is a child born in the slums and cursed by the sins of his parents. His mother is a notorious drug addict and whore who's more concerned with getting her next high than she is with Tayshawn's well-being. His stepfather hates him so much that he literally treats him like an animal, forcing him to sleep in a cage and scavenge for scraps of food wherever he can find them. Because of his squalid appearance, he is also an object of ridicule by all of the neighborhood kids, who have given him a nickname--Animal. The only person to ever show him even the slightest bit of kindness is his older brother Justice. And when Justice is taken from his life, Tayshawn finds himself alone in the streets. His guardian angel gone, he is now at the mercy of the world his brother tried to protect him from. Tayshawn quickly learns that if he is to survive the jungle, he will have to adapt. Love and companionship constantly elude Tayshawn, but death and heartache cling to him like a second skin. Gradually, the layers of the frightened child he had once been are stripped away until there is nothing left--nothing but Animal.