“You know I’m coming. You’re dead already.”
Hector has always minded his own business, working hard to make his way to a better life someday. He’s the chess team champion, helps the family with his job at the grocery, and teaches his little sister to shoot hoops overhand.
Until Joey singles him out. Joey, whose older brother, Chavo, is head of the Discípulos gang, tells Hector that he’s going to kill him: maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday. And Hector, frozen with fear, does nothing. From that day forward, Hector’s death is hanging over his head every time he leaves the house. He tries to fade into the shadows — to drop off Joey’s radar — to become no one.
But when a fight between Chavo and Hector’s brother Fili escalates, Hector is left with no choice but to take a stand.
The violent confrontation will take Hector places he never expected, including a reform school where he has to live side-by-side with his enemy, Joey. It’s up to Hector to choose whether he’s going to lose himself to revenge or get back to the hard work of living.
Thoughts and Themes: This isn’t the type of book that I would normally pick up just based on the cover of it. I’m really glad that I got sent this book and decided to listen to it on audio because I really did enjoy this book. This book was heavy in everything that it covered but it was also really a great story.
I really enjoyed the pacing of this book as the beginning of it set up the background for the story and then suddenly there is a shift and the story changes not just in theme but also in the mood. I think this is a great book for middle school students and its great to start many different and difficult conversations.
Something else that I really enjoyed in this book was the villain because there is more than one villain in this book. There is obviously the villain that we all know in Joey but then there is the villain that Hector becomes to himself. In his ploy for revenge, Hector becomes a villain to himself and gets trapped lost in his feelings of anger and his need for revenge.
Something else that I really enjoyed about this book is the way that it shows how hard it is for BIPOC to get away from violence regardless of the life they lead. I thought it was great that we see how everyone constantly points out how Hector is a good student and a good son. I thought them constantly pointing this out but having others ignore it and even Hector forget this about himself added to the story and the pain that you feel for this family. This book shows how sometimes we have false perceptions of youth who end up incarcerated or in reform schools.
Characters: In this book you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with Hector. You get to meet some of Hector’s friends and family briefly, and then you get to meet Joey, and some of the people at Furmon Academy.
I really liked the different interactions that Hector has at Furmon Academy with all the different people that he gets to meet. I liked that we got to see a different side to hector through his time there and how different people change the course of actions that he takes. I thought it was great to see how the older generation had an impact on him and also the impact that this place was having on Joey.
Writing Style: This story is told in third person with the focus being on Hector. I liked that the narrator was telling us what was happening instead of hearing everything first hand from Hector. I think having the narrator see and tell all was a good way for this book to be told because we get to feel for each of the characters and not just Hector. I also think that this method allows the reader to take a step back though which sometimes isn’t always a good thing. I think its important that while this book is fictional, we remember that this is the life of many BIPOC youth.
Francisco X. Stork was born in Mexico. He moved to El Paso Texas with his adoptive father and mother when he was nine. He attended Spring Hill College, Harvard University and Columbia Law School. He worked as an attorney for thirty-three years before retiring in 2015. He is married and has two grown children and four beautiful grandkids. He loves to discover new books and authors. His favorite books are those where the author’s soul touches his. He does not read reviews to his books so you should feel free to write whatever you want. Also, he is genuinely interested in learning about books and life from his friends on this site. He would love it if you find his books worthy to be read, but that’s not why he wants to be your friend.