What begins as a typical story of Latino teen angst concludes with an expression of love and loyalty that stretches beyond its physical time and place to the universal meaning of “family.” Raul Luis “Ruly” Cruz seems like so many other protagonists encountered before: awkward, unsure of himself, a little nerdy, smarter and wiser than he knows. But his brush with prestige through managing the El Paso Ysleta High School football team, his subsequent graduation and his slow, deliberate steps into the adult world of work and responsibility take him to new emotional heights after falling in love with a more worldly California college student. The more mature Ruly is now ready to take on the biggest responsibility of his life, that of taking parental responsibility for a child who is not his own.
This is a nicely written novel, very evocative of time and place, with surprising twists leading to a satisfying conclusion. One minor complaint for the publisher: the print is some of the tiniest ever encountered in a trade paperback.
Highly recommended for teen and adult public library collections and for any library serving the Latino community.