The Shepherd's Hut by Tim Winton
Two tragic events, the death of his mother to cancer and the accidental squashing of his abusive father courtesy of a car jack, leave Jax with little option but to run, but his path is complicated. To reach the only person who understands him he must cross the barren burnt saltlands of WA.
This is an alien world, sparsely populated by emaciated fauna, criminals and sunburnt drifters, and will fry the uninitiated traveller.
Jaz's path is crossed by a disgraced priest who offers shelter and salvation, but when the wind changes Jax can smell and hear a further dangerous human obstacle that will have to be dealt with before he can continue his journey.
This is a story of hope. Serious. This is the driving emotion that keeps Jax alive and drives him to cross the sunbaked wilderness.
And it's a great read. A page-turner, I think you'll find.