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When We Wuz Famous
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When We Wuz Famous

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  91 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Francisco Ortiz, a handsome straight-A student and gifted basketball player from the barrio, wins a full scholarship to an elite boarding school. His future seems promising. Butsoon after Franciscomoves into the dorm, his new classmates assume the worst of him:they pepper him with questions about drugs and gangs. It’s all so confusing, made even more complicated when Franc ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Community Reviews

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Takoudes' realistic Harlem story is full of the gritty stuff but infused with such tenderness. It will breathe nostalgic memories into anyone who's been there and also draw in those of us who haven't:
"Reignbow glowed. What a night. She thought that one day, they'd count Spanish Harlem among the great civilizations of the world that she'd learned about at school, like Greece, Egypt, and Rome. No place was happier than Spanish Harlem. Brighter. More fun. No friends were better than hers."
I wasn't
Oct 07, 2015 Kierstin rated it it was ok
When I read the blurb of this book, I was immediately intrigued. When I got it from the library, I started reading it the next day. Reignbow is a pretty unique name, caught me off guard at first. Her friends kinda bothered me in this book, even though we didn't see very much of them. Francisco was an okay character. Made unnecessary trouble for himself, which caused me not to like him. Vincent was just a straight up douchebag. I hated his character so much. Overall, this book was good, I'll give ...more
Jun 13, 2016 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
I started reading another book it was "Will-Grayson, Will-Grayson"and I didn't like it. Not that is was bad it just wasn't a book for me. So I got a book with a cool cover. It was a bright green and graffiti writing and I was really into it. I read the first chapter it was really good it was saying how this isn't a cliché book, it isn't the about how the boy pretends to forget the girls birthday and he surprises her, but it says that it's a book that where the boy actually forgets her birthday. ...more
Mrs. Tongate
Apr 29, 2013 Mrs. Tongate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: african-american
Francisco Ortiz has it all going on. He has the student-athlete image down. He is good looking, a straight-A student, and a talented basketball player from the barrio. Francisco receives a full scholarship to an elite boarding school in upstate New York to play basketball. He has the opportunity of a lifetime to start new and leave Spanish Harlem behind. Francisco struggles with his new boarding school lifestyle and classmates, and issues back home in Spanish Harlem with girlfriend, Reignbow; &a ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Lacy rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I highly recommend this title. The treatment of stereotypes is right on. Appealing to both young adult women and men.
Jul 29, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
When basketball star Francisco gets a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school in upstate New York, he leaves his friends, his girlfriend and his “Krew” behind. But when trouble shows up when he comes home for a long weekend, Francisco must decide between staying in school and being loyal to his friends.
Based on Takoudes film “Up with Me”, this gritty look at the inner-city youth of Spanish Harlem shows how hard it is to break away from the life there. The violence is mild without losing th
Kevin Hall
Aug 11, 2014 Kevin Hall rated it liked it
Pretty solid, accessible story that takes on friendship, stereotypes, and the idea of fate/destiny.
Gregorio Gomez
Apr 26, 2014 Gregorio Gomez rated it really liked it
It was a pretty good book telling about a teenager going through the life in the streets.
Alma  Ramos-McDermott
Jan 29, 2016 Alma Ramos-McDermott rated it it was amazing
In this gritty, true-to-life urban tale, we learn of love, survival, pain, as well as the power of friendship and resilience through the life of 17-year-old Francisco and his best friend Vincent. Francisco has the opportunity to leave the grit and poverty of Spanish Harlem behind when he gets accepted to a prestigious high school in upstate New York.

Read the rest of my review on my blog: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.c...
Linda Dickson
Mar 27, 2013 Linda Dickson rated it really liked it
I received this book free from Goodreads First Reads. What a powerful book for teens. You are immediately captivated by the struggles, the intense emotions, the good and bad of real life. The story shines a light on friendship, loyalty, family, enduring love and life choices. If you are a parent struggling with teen behavior, this might just be the book you need to read, too!
Apr 15, 2013 Shelleyd rated it liked it
Shelves: contemp-ya, poc
I just finished Greg Takoudes’s When We Wuz Famous. It was inspired by a guerilla film that the author created with the help of a group of young adults from Spanish Harlem. The novel’s frenetic pacing and visceral dialogue gives it a cinematic quality. Though not as elegantly told as Paul Griffin’s Ten Mile River or Ernesto Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams, it has a lot of heart.
Nov 25, 2015 Sandy rated it it was ok
High school basketball star Francisco leaves his Harlem home to upstate New York on a scholarship to a private boarding school. His two worlds clash and he makes some poor choices that have long reaching consequences. The book is based on the author's movie Up With Me. It is for older teen readers as some of the subject matter and language is mature.
Jun 26, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it
Fast read for me. I thought the characters were intriguing & complicated, each in their own way. A somewhat gritty look at the realities that teens today face. This book made me want to see what was next with every turn of the page- it had me rooting for the characters, and their friendships.

*I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.
Venec M.
Sep 27, 2013 Venec M. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Other teens.
Francisco Ortiz seems to be on the fast-track to success. He is a straight A student and a basketball. When he is offered a scholarship to an upstate boarding school, he must choose which is more important to him- his "hood", or his future.
Oct 19, 2013 Haydee rated it it was amazing
It was a great book. It showed how his life changed because of where he is from. He lost everything for going away. I truly love this book and would like to read more like this piece of art
Nov 18, 2013 Jill rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Seemed like a realistic portrayal about being stuck between two worlds and feeling pulled in both directions. Also about how kids make bad choices for seemingly good reasons.
Apr 21, 2013 Mokamonkey rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen-books
Over the top descriptions, stereotypical characters.
Dec 04, 2012 Snow rated it it was ok
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