A GOOD LONG WAY by René Saldaña Jr.


Age Range: 14 & up
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Two Rio Grande Valley high schoolers flirt with cutting out early but find reasons to finish school in this purposeful but intense tale. For Beto, it’s a combination of pride, disinterest in school and a clash with his caring but harsh father that sends him stalking away to spend the night in a Dumpster. For Beto's longtime friend Jessy, it’s a strong desire to be an artist, plus the strain of hearing her father beating her mother and knowing that her turn will be coming up one of these nights, that drives her to head for the bus to San Antonio. Using a mix of tenses and all three persons, Saldaña lays out his characters’ thoughts and emotional landscapes in broad strokes—creating a third angle of view by adding Beto’s little brother Roelito, who works his nalgas off in school but shows early signs of an ominous anger, as another narrative voice. The action takes place over the course of a little more than 12 hours, neatly capturing the spontaneity of teen impulses. Teen readers chafing at the domestic bit will find food for thought here. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-55885-607-3
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Arte Público
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2010