“Soto’s compassion for his characters and his personal humanity make him an inspiring role model for youthful Hispanic writer aspirants: but all teens will be heartened by his warm, respectful, and humorous depiction of their lives.” —Charlotte Richardson, Paper Tigers
These and other teens need help if they’re ever going to decipher the weirdness of everyday life in these hilarious, heartfelt, and unflinchingly real short stories. The smallest of events-a stolen flute, an idle day, a game of paintball in the wild-turn out to be about the largest of problems: figuring out what it means to be alive.
With real wit and understanding, Gary Soto takes readers into the lives of young people as they make their way in the strange world we all share.
Ten stories portray some of the struggles and hopes of young Mexican Americans.
Reviews & Accolades
“These interesting characters placed in unique situations, and the thought-provoking endings, compensate for intermittent awkwardness in the telling. The occasional insertion of Spanish words is done skillfully so that even non-Spanish speakers will understand all aspects of the stories, which are similar in style and tone to Soto’s Petty Crimes.” —School Library Journal
“The stories are sometimes funny, often poignant, and occasionally provocative. Spanish words and phrases, sprinkled throughout the stories, can usually be understood in context, but the appended glossary is helpful. The stories are laced with harsh, realistic observations and grungy, everyday details: “A dead bird with a string of ants crawling from its eyes lay near a burger wrapper.” This naturalistic style gives the stories a hard, unpleasant edge, but it also makes them vividly believable.” —Linda Perkins, Booklist
“Ten perceptive short stories give glimpses of everyday life and emotions among a variety of adolescent Latinos. With a range of tones from sad to joyful, the stories focus mostly on teens in working class families whose lives come alive through evocative details…The realistic dialogue uses Spanish words in context, with a glossary at the back. Readers, Latino or not, have a good chance of seeing themselves and their feelings in these compelling stories.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Mexican-American Gary Soto mines emotional material acquired growing up in a Fresno, California, barrio for his young adult books…Whether grieving the loss of a mother, or more often abandonment by a father, his characters are both growing up too fast and stuck in a netherworld of insecurity. Their amusing and disarming facades fail to hide their tender-hearted suffering and sensitivity. Soto is a master at conjuring these vulnerable young people…Soto is a poet as well as a storyteller and he captures the dreams of his characters with acute poignancy…Soto’s compassion for his characters and his personal humanity make him an inspiring role model for youthful Hispanic writer aspirants: but all teens will be heartened by his warm, respectful, and humorous depiction of their lives.” —Charlotte Richardson, Paper Tigers
Coming of age, family death, parental abandonment, self-identity
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