Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mexican WhiteBoy Matt de la Pena

Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena This book was deceptively good.
Diversity Rocks. When I got close to the end, I couldn't help but put the pieces together again and truly appreciate Matt de la Pena's writing and the story he told. 16yr old Danny lives in San Diego with his mother and younger sister, Julia. Danny feels like an outcast because his dad's Mexican and his mother White. When Danny's dad left the family, Danny shut down emotionally and only speaks when he must. He also begins to dig his fingernails into his arm, so much so that he has scars. The only thing he enjoys is pitching. Danny is spending the summer in National City with his dad's family. In National City Danny still feels like he doesn't fit in only this time he's a few shades too light. He'll being staying with his aunt and uncle and hanging with his 17yr old cousin Sofia. Danny hopes to get closer to his Mexican roots and maybe it will bring his father back. On his first day in National City Danny meets Uno the only other half Mexican, Uno's father is Black. Danny and Uno's first meeting ends in blood and stitches but the two become very good friends. In the beginning of the summer Danny practices his pitching alone until Uno becomes his catcher. Uno convinces Danny the two should challenge the best hitters on every team for cash. Danny is no ordinary pitcher, he's a born talent. So it should be easy money but Danny can't find the strike zone. He had the same problem trying out for his high school team. In practice everything was great but against hitters Danny can't find the strike zone. Uno tells Danny to stop thinking so hard, and getting in the way of his talent. Danny has a lot going on in his head like his dad, will he ever come back?, why he left?, or memories he can't remember and there's still more. Once Danny stops letting everything weigh his mind down, he and Uno run through the best hitters in town. Danny's magic on the mound. Uno knows Danny's bound for greatness, he's simply happy to have known him before. Baseball is a small part of this book. Its more so about Danny coming to terms with who he is and who is dad was. In Danny's actions and few chosen words, I could see how much he missed having his dad around. Throughout the book Danny writes his dad letters about what's going on in this life in hopes that maybe one will make him come back. Everything Danny writes is a colorful untruth, instead of running a summer hustle with Uno, Danny's an ace for a traveling team. It isn't until the end that Danny learns the truth and there is no way his dad can come back. The author spends a fair amount of time on Uno as well. For a while the chapters alternate better the two characters. This is one of those books a few days afters you've finished it you've realize how good it really is. Mexican WhiteBoy was chosen as a 2009 top ten best books for Young Adults by YALSA.

The YA YA YAs review

3 comments:

Apryl DeLancey said...

Your reviews are great and only remind me that I must make more time for leisure reading. This sounds like another good one that I need to buy for the local youth group.

Ali said...

Wow. I need to read this one, I was glued to the screen for your entire review. Question: would you give it to a 12 year old boy, or is it more of an older YA read?

Doret said...

This is perfectly fine for a 12yr old.