Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ONLY PIECES by Edd Tello


From the West 44 YA Verse series

by Edd Tello

Pub Date: June 14th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-9785-9602-3
Publisher: West 44 Books

Unable to express himself freely at home, a gay teen, the son of undocumented immigrants, finds solace in his writing.

The call comes in: Apá is returning home after not being able to find work due to an injury. Now, the tension between Edgar Jimenez’s parents boils over: Little income means that Amá stresses out about food and bills; Apá, in the meantime, finds escape in beer and television—when he’s not out of sorts. Edgar pours his thoughts and worries into his poetry as a way to explore his emotions. After all, he has a secret: He’s gay. Amá knows, but she encourages Edgar to keep this a secret from his dad. But one night, Edgar runs into his crush, Alex Cisneros, in his apartment complex, and it turns out that Alex has a secret as well, one that he confides in Edgar. As pressure builds at home, Edgar starts to hang out with Alex, who shows interest in him and his writing. The two Mexican American boys slowly bond over their troubles and fears even though Edgar finds it hard to overcome the pressures he feels from his parents. Tello’s YA debut is slim yet potent, simmering up until the ending that presents optimistic fragments full of vague possibilities that may both frustrate and delight. The author infuses some lovely imagery and Mexican folklore into this overall pleasing offering.

An appealing coming-of-age story that will engage reluctant readers.

(Verse novel. 12-18)