THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by Francisco X. Stork

THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

An ambitious bildungsroman tackles the Big Issues: love, life and death. By age 17, Pancho has given up on the first two. His sister’s murder has left him empty of everything but the drive for revenge. Reluctantly, he takes on the job of accompanying the dying D.Q., who tries to recruit Pancho into his “Death Warrior” ethos. But meeting compassionate and pretty Marisol provokes both to question what in life is worth fighting for. While the lyrical prose captures the precious incidentals of quotidian existence, the characterization is troublesome. Pancho’s perceptive voice and his sophisticated use of language and metaphor make his random malapropisms and constant self-description as “dumb” jarring. D.Q. is an excellent foil, charming, charismatic and expansive, but also perpetuates the unfortunate trope that illness bestows special insight and wisdom, according his musings a profundity they do not quite earn. The saintly Marisol, alas, has little identity beyond the object of male desire. Yet it will be a hard-hearted reader indeed who fails to root for the tentative unfurling of this unusual friendship or closes the book without a renewed appreciation for life’s ephemeral beauty. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-15133-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2010




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