SUCKERPUNCH by David Hernandez


Age Range: 14 & up
Email this review


Marcus Mendoza, aka Nub because of a severed index finger, narrates this hard-hitting and profane novel about parental abuse. From the opening sentence, the writing shocks, then mesmerizes readers, making its title an apt choice. Hernandez powerfully describes the harsh life of working poor families and their children as victims. Marcus imagines there are others like him, a “whole dissatisfied throng, T-shirted and disheveled and angry at the world.” As readers ride with the brothers on their journey of vengeance, Enrique, Marcus’s younger brother, steps into the spotlight. Enrique has suffered years of physical beatings from their father, a man who bolted to Monterey, Calif., a year before the story opens. The journey to hunt down their father is fueled by hits of acid and “gourmet marijuana,” as Hernandez skillfully produces sobering descriptions of prior tragedies. The climax crackles with suspense, but the last 20 pages have a tacked-on vibe that’s a slight letdown. Nevertheless, Hernandez’s solid first YA effort will have readers clamoring for his next work. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-117330-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2008


ChildrenBEETLE BOY by Margaret Willey
by Margaret Willey