Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BENITO RUNS by Justine Fontes


From the Surviving Southside series

by Justine Fontes

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7613-6165-7
Publisher: Darby Creek

Each book in the high-interest/low-reading-level Surviving Southside series is narrated by a different student at Texas' racially diverse Southside High School. Here, Benito's dad comes home from the war in Iraq. The family has been looking forward to his return, but he now has PTSD and is prone to loud, embarrassing outbursts. Ultimately, Benito leaves the house on an ill-fated bus journey. Plan B, in which a drunken first sexual experience leads to an unplanned pregnancy, tells a familiar story but comes to an open-ended resolution. In Recruited, star quarterback Kadeem faces a moral dilemma: Accept the scholarships, academic string-pulling and cheerleaders' attention offered by Teller College's recruiting coach, or blow the whistle on Teller's illegal recruiting practices. Each book is straightforward, with action beginning immediately and every detail moving the story ahead. Resolutions come quickly (each volume hovers just around 100 pages) and are sometimes unsatisfyingly tidy. Occasionally, a relevant detail is left out—it is never explained, for instance, why NCAA recruiting rules forbid aggressive tactics—but overall, these are solid, simple stories. For reluctant readers and fans of the Bluford High series. (Fiction. 12-14)