A Cuban-American teenager from Florida uses a physics assignment to figure out what he wants when he finds himself stuck in a love triangle.
If Marco Suarez succeeds at becoming a Ph.D. in astrophysics, he will be the first member of his family to earn a degree of any kind. A straight-A student who works a 40-hour-a-week grocery store job, Marco is prepared to surpass his father’s career as a custodian. But as he nears the end of high school and an old girlfriend returns to town, he must face some difficult decisions while trying not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Written in a fast-paced style with engaging dialogue, the lack of flaws in Marco’s pleasing character render him nearly one-dimensional. He is loyal, wise, hardworking, and willing to sacrifice everything for his family. He selflessly puts his friends ahead of himself. His teachers and elderly neighbors love him. The novel does pitch some interesting plot elements at the reader, but even as the adults in Marco’s life cause him problems, the consequences of their actions are disappointingly never fully explored. The love sparks, best friend group dynamics, and philosophical musings are fairy tales that happen on the periphery of real problems. The meta-commentary of the novel’s story only makes the writing feel more self-conscious.
A happily-ever-after story about multicultural friends who are portrayed more as role models than complex characters. (Fiction. 12-18)