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by Gary Soto

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-15-205497-9
Publisher: Harcourt

Marisa is in her first year of high school, a little overweight and always ready to pick a fight. After punching her best friend’s cheating boyfriend in an elevator, she gets home to find she has someone else’s cell phone—and realizes she must have switched phones with the nerdy kid who was in the elevator with them. When she meets Rene, she immediately notices his white socks and flood pants, and yet, she can’t help wanting to hang around him. It’s a first romance for both, and their efforts to change themselves and each other are touching and funny. There’s a sweet and light touch to this love story—a lot of cuddly kissing, no heavy petting—keeping this squarely on the younger end of pre-teen (despite the older-looking cover). Set at two urban schools—one tougher, one suburban—and with Latino families (a glossary in the back will help those unfamiliar with Spanish words), this story offers readers much to identify with. Nothing terribly deep here, but it fills a gap in middle-school–age collections with something fresh and fun. (Fiction. 11-14)