BODY SLAMMED! by Ray Villareal


Age Range: 11 - 13
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A San Antonio teenager hooks up with a fast-living pro wrestler and discovers the downside of hanging out with risky companions in this sequel to My Father, the Angel of Death (2006).

Junior year’s a drag for Jesse. His mom has moved out; his dad—a star performer on American Championship Wrestling—is hardly ever home; he’s barely getting by in school; and he’s spending far more time on the bench than on the football field. His life takes an exciting turn, though, after his father introduces him to 22-year-old TJ, a cocky up-and-coming wrestler. TJ puts him behind the wheel of a hot car, presses beers on him and takes him to a mixed-martial-arts tournament and a boozy Halloween party. Then, ignoring his own growing uneasiness, Jesse takes a ride with TJ across the border to buy steroids. Glimpses of bouts on Monday Night Mayhem and references to “jobbers,” “smarks” and Mexican luchadores add more atmosphere than actual wrestling action to a tale that is essentially about making better choices. Jesse makes his after he and TJ are robbed and severely beaten in a Nuevo Laredo alleyway—and so do his parents. Sudden changes in point of view add to an unfocused feel.

More about teachable moments than suplexes and drop kicks. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 30th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-55885-749-0
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2012


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