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Contributor(s): Méndez, Matt

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ISBN: 1534404457     ISBN-13: 9781534404458
Publisher: Atheneum
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Binding Type: Hardcover
Published: March 2019
Qty:

Annotation: Learning that the father he believed dead is alive, a basketball athlete with dreams of a better life embarks on a road trip with his best friend while confronting how discrimination is affecting his prospects. A first young-adult novel by the author of the story collection, Twitching Heart. 50,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Best friends; Fiction.
Friendship; Fiction.
Mexican Americans; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2018014200
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.75" W x 1.00" (0.88 lbs) 306 pages
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2019 January #1)

This searing portrait of two Mexican-American families conveys the experiences of a group that is underrepresented in YA fiction. Juan, a high school senior living in El Paso, knows that his only hope for a future is basketball; when he sprains his ankle running from the police at a party, he worries that he's lost everything, particularly after spending the night in prison. But his coach offers him one last shot: rehab the ankle, pass a big algebra test, and he'll invite a college scout to see Juan play. Juan's best friend, JD, has his own problems: he discovers that his father is cheating, and when his mom throws his dad out, JD's family implodes. And Juan's mother, Fabi, the story's third narrator, learns that she's pregnant and can't decide what to do. Juan doesn't know who his father is, but when Fabi starts getting letters from an ex-boyfriend on death row, Juan becomes convinced that the writer is his dad. He and JD hatch a plan to visit, but past choices catch up with them, changing everything. Mendez brings Juan and his world to life with vivid, honest characters and events that shine a light on what it can mean to be Mexican-American and poor in America. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2019 March)

Gr 9 Up—Juan Ramos has big dreams: to play college basketball and one day be a professional basketball player. His friend JD Sanchez wants to make great movies and has been collecting old equipment. When Juan and JD run from the police at a friend's party, an avalanche of problems that has surrounded them all their lives collapses around them. JD's mom kicks his dad out of the house after finding out about his affair. Juan's mom, Fabi, and her current boyfriend bail him out of jail, and a sprained ankle and failing algebra grade threaten to bring Juan's basketball career to a complete halt. When Juan discovers a letter to Fabi from an inmate on death row, he is certain this man must be the father he has never known. JD and Juan agree to travel to meet Armando Aranda, with JD documenting their experiences on camera. As the friends set off to find out the truth, a tragic misunderstanding changes their lives forever. The writing flows easily and, coupled with letter excerpts and lyrics, will make this a fast read, though some may find that the ending comes too abruptly. VERDICT Recommended for fans of Matt de la Peña's Mexican Whiteboy.—Selenia Paz, Harris County Public Library, Houston, TX

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.
 
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