Maniac Magee is a novel written by American author Jerry Spinelli and published in 1990. Exploring themes of racism and homelessness, it follows the story of an orphan boy looking for a home in the fictional Pennsylvania town of Two Mills. He becomes a local legend for feats of athleticism and fearlessness, and his ignorance of sharp racial boundaries in the town. It is popular in elementary school curricula, and has been used in scholarly studies on the relationship of children to racial identity and reading. A film adaptation was released in 2003.
Jeffrey's parents were in a trolley when a drunk driver crashed and sunk it into the Schuylkill River in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, orphaning him at age three. After living with his Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan in another town and enduring their mutual hatred and silence for eight years, he runs away during a school musical performance. One year (The Lost Year) and 200 miles later, he finds himself across the river from Bridgeport in Two Mills, where Hector Street sharply divides black East Enders from white West Enders. He is unaware of the hatred between the sides.