THE BOYS OF SAN JOAQUIN by D. James Smith

THE BOYS OF SAN JOAQUIN

Age Range: 11 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

Smith invites readers to travel an even Longer Way from Chicago with this summertime, old-time, small-town slice-of-life, as viewed by a hilariously matter-of-fact young resident. Amid a whirl of comings, goings, budding romances, pranks, tiffs, schemes and revelations, Paolo—one of ten sibs in a tumultuous Irish-Italian extended family—wanders his notably multi-ethnic California town in search of clues after his church’s weekly collection disappears. Along with his deaf, sharp-as-a-tack cousin Billy, Paolo stumbles into plenty of new experiences as he goes, from driving (and wrecking) a car and suffering through his first dance, to getting a gander at the life of Terence, a rich but neglected peer. All the while he’s dropping pithy insights and wrestling with his conscience over whether to keep the money when he finds it. By the time the cash turns up, he’s come around to a willingness to do the right thing—and has learned that there is more to some people, specifically Terence, than he’d suspected. Set in the early 1950s, this upbeat tale offers a strong sense of place, plenty of growing-up and enough spirited characters to justify Paolo’s opening, enticingly annotated, cast of characters. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-87606-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2005