Side Tracks by Teresa Stores
In the depths of the Great Depression, two young women begin a dangerous journey to themselves...
When Maxine McCarthy loses her factory job, she realizes there are only two certainties in her future: the harsh New York winter and more beatings from her abusive stepfather.
When Josephine Lee wins a scholarship to a Northern College, she rejoices in the chance to finally escape the stifling conventions of the rural South. But believing that education is wasted on women, her preacher father refuses to let her go.
Unwilling to accept their fates, Maxine and Josephine run away from home disguised as boys and ride the rails as hobos. After a chance meeting in a boxcar, "Joe" and "Max" decide to travel together, each believing the other is really a boy -- a boy unlike any of the other boys she's known.