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BEHIND THE EYES by Francisco X. Stork


by Francisco X. Stork

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-525-47735-7
Publisher: Dutton

Life for Hector, a Chicano youth growing up hard in the gritty streets of El Paso, changes irrevocably the night that his brother Filiberto is murdered by the leader of the Discipulos gang. In a quest for revenge, “hatred provided courage and strength and, like love, a kind of solace.” His successful effort at retaliation lands him in the Furman juvenile detention facility. There Hector finds friendship in his sanguine roommate X-Lax and the surly stock bully Sanson. Danger reappears behind bars when El Topo arrives at Furman on a mission to murder Hector, and help arrives from a predictable source to foster a conclusion that is plausible, if unsatisfying. With spare prose and unflinching dialogue, this glimpse into cholo culture is initially engaging; however, the second half suffers from thin characterization of the supporting cast outside of the immediate family and Chava, the fallen gang leader. Depictions of Chicana women are largely one-dimensional and incidental to the plot. Nevertheless, the narrative ultimately functions effectively as both cautionary tale and success story. (Fiction. YA)