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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  190 ratings  ·  46 reviews
It's the summer before senior year, and Marcus should be hanging out, filling his sketchbook, maybe asking a girl out for once. So why is he in a car with his brother, his brother's girl, and the pistol, headed straight toward his dad?

David Hernandez writes with striking lyricism and unfaltering poise. Suckerpunch marks the debut of a superb and important new literary tale
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Harper Teen
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First, the good stuff: David Hernandez packs a lot of powerful emotion per page in this novel, and his main character, Marcus, is a wonderful mix of reliable enough for me to trust him as a narrator, but imperfect enough to relate to. Also, this is one of those rare YA novels that I think would resonate with teenage boys, especially if they're Hispanic. Hernandez manages to honor the traits of a Hispanic family in the US without digressing into the preachy-ness that is so typical of "multicultur ...more
Cheryl Klein
David Hernandez is one of my favorite poets, and he brings his acute observational skills to this story of a teenage boy dealing with his father's inexplicable violence toward his younger brother. The novel meanders the way that teenage life does, floating from one scene to the next with more emphasis on sensation than causality. Maybe it's a poet thing too. But what the book lacks in page-turner-ness, it makes up in realism and quiet moments of odd beauty.
Jessica Cuddy
Hernandez forges the powerful voice of a somewhat angsty teenager in this gripping yet easy-to-follow novel. I regard this as a coming-of-age story of sorts, because of the way the characters are developed, namely Enrique. The writer plays with the reader's perception and opinion of characters masterfully, namely in the revealing of Enrique as a less-than-desirable character AFTER revealing the path of his painfully blazed trail from childhood to early teenhood. The idea that people can change ...more
Shelley Daugherty
I would like to give this book a higher rating because the story is fantastic. This book follows the lives of two brothers, Marcus and Enrique. While Marcus is the older of the two, Enrique has the more powerful personality. They are just starting to enjoy their lives after their father has left, but Marcus notices that his brother is starting so show some of their father's violent tendencies. Their relationship starts to change as they both seem to be moving in two separate directions, however ...more
This book was interesting. It definitely would take a mature person to read this book, because there is quite a bit of language in this book and there is a lot of adult humor. There is also a lot of drug use from the main character and his friends which I thought was interesting but I couldn't really relate to the main character. I dont really know what to categorize this book as. Im more of a mystery type of reader and this was more of an action book i would say. Its an interesting book and i ...more
At first, I thought this was just another edgy hi-low read with a great cover. But the further I got, the more I liked it. Hernandez does a beautiful job of describing things in a way that works for his narrator, but is unique and beautiful all at the same time...

"I looked at our neighbor's house, the small waves that rolled across the tarp whenever the wind bothered it, and remembered again the sound of glass breaking." (pg. 63)

"Everyone in the car said as little as possible. We all, to some de
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Onemany
It is during a summer before his senior year. A student named Marcus, a very talented artist that has kept him safe harm. As for his younger brother, Enrique isn't as lucky at all. A mom that can't do anything about the situation at all. A time where it seems it is time. Marcus is in the car with his brother, Enrique andhis pretty girlfriend and on their way to visit their dad. But why is that there is a pistol in the glove compartment?

I give this book a five because it was very entertaining for
Paula Griffith
Marcus tells us the story of his dysfunctional family and how having a father who is abusive affects each member in a different way. Marcus (aka "Nub")has a talent for drawing, and when there is an accident that costs him a part of one of his index fingers, his father blames his younger brother, Enrique. This sets of a chain of events where Marcus' father makes Enrique the scapegoat for his anger, hitting, punching, and bruising him while Marcus watches unable to move out of fear. Every time his ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

SUCKERPUNCH is the story of two brothers - narrator Marcus and his younger brother, Enrique.

Marcus, the shy one, has spent most of his life looking out for Enrique. For some reason that Marcus has yet to fully understand, their father physically abused Enrique. Why one boy and not the other? That is a question Marcus would love to have answered. As a result of the abuse and then abandonment, Enrique is medicated for depression and
Kelly Trotter

In life, in every situation, you will always have a choice. It is Marcus's turn to make his choice. He could have stood up to his dad but he sat back and watched him beat his brother. Will he take acid or will he take uppers? Will he tell his brother's girlfriend that he likes her or will he suffer in silence? Now he has one more choice: he can finally stand up to his dad with a gun or he can sit back like he always did.

I am not sure how I felt about the book. It was very different from other t
Jacari Lenoir
17 year old Marcus, and his broke friends are trying to understand the world, just like most of us teenagers. His best friends' father killed himself but Marcus wants to kill his own father. His father has left Marcus family and use to abuse him and his brother. The father tries to come back in their life, but Marcus and his brother takes a trip to his house and tells him he no longer wants him to be in their life. His whole life was a suckerpunch.
What I liked about this book is how he stood up
Doug Beatty
Plot: This is the story of Marcus (Nub) and his brother Enrique. Enrique was physically brutalized by their father, although the father left Marcus alone. Marcus hangs with his friend Oliver who recently lost his father to suicide and goes to parties, takes valium, tries acid and smokes weed with his friends. His mother waitresses at a Thai restaurant after his father takes off a year ago. Marcus meets green haired Ashley at a party, and develops a crush and later learns that Enrique is dating h ...more
A violent story that focuses upon the anger that abuse creates. The opening of the novel grabs your attention; the main character, Marcus, is attending the funeral of his friends father, plotting the way in which he could kill his own dad. Although the abusive father is out of the house, Nub sees fragments of his appearance constantly in strangers. Both boys are relieved and haunted by the absence of their dad. The main character is a HS Junior who is struggling with guilt of not protecting his ...more
Delma Matta
I can see how some teenagers would like and find this book relevant because the characters a well-developed and true to life. However, I would recommend this book to older readers because of the violence and drug use content but that does not overpower the story line and the author’s “hard edge” writing style. The story is about two brothers Marcus who is recounting the story and Enrique his brother. One of the brothers Enrique is physically abused by their father and Enrique becomes depressed a ...more
It's a real good book and unlike most other stories with the same theme (i.e. Project X and Fight Club) it offers a more positive message in the end. It's a solid book that should get more praise than it probably has. It's gritty though not over-done like Project X and it's pretty sarcastic the whole way throughout. The language is pretty simple and it's not super long like some other works. Very well done and the ending is just fantastic!
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This book was great. The writing was emotional and powerful. The ending really lived up to the name of the book. I would recommend it to a person who likes gritty stories. It was very realistic and believable. It could have happened to people in my life as well. I could relate to feeling good when going back to school.
I'm giving this 3 stars because of the promise embodied in its opening:

"At the funeral for Oliver's father I daydreamed about killing my own. I'd come at him with a switchblade while he was in the garage, the table saw whining in his hand as it chewed through a 4x4. I'd come at him with a hammer. I'd come at himwith a baseball bat, his head splitting open like rotten fruit."

There are loads of wonderful passages in this "young adult" novel, but in the end, it just didn't resonate with me. Perhaps
Kenneth Knudson
I really like how this book was laid out. The author has also published poetry and it is evident in his writing. The basic story is this. Dad hits his son. Son gets mad and wants to kill him. Other son has to prevent this from happening.

What I love the most about this novel is the author's use of time. Hernandez successfully gives us glimpses of the past while the story rolls on. For instance, their dad throwing lemons into the pool for them to go fetch. His use of fruit throughout the novel to
I'd say half of this book was a 2-star, and the other half was a 4-star. It seemed like some of the writing tried to be shocking, just for the sake of being shocking, which didn't really add anything to the characters or story. Plus I thought the whole crow symbol was too heavy-handed. By the end of the novel, however, I had a lot of respect for the treatment of the relationship between the brothers and with the father. I think it's hard to convey the complexities of those relationships without ...more
Graphic and raw this book made me uncomfortable to be reading in my classroom with students. My discomfort though seems to have intrigued several relucant readers into the storyline. This book is not for teachers though, it is for the angst ridden. It is an easy read and very high interst. You have to be able to stomach the frank sexuality and graphic violence, but underneath is s tory we all can understand, a child who has been abused who does not have the skills to cope and the threat that the ...more
From the moment you open the first page, this books is gripping and fast-paced. I couldn't stop reading it until I got to the end. In an poetic way, the author discuss the subject of child abuse from the perspective of Marcus, a 17 yr. old teen who watches the abusive relationship of his father towards his 16 yr. old younger brother. This is a very gripping, realistic story that does not try to minimize or sugar-coat the subject for a teen audience.
Markus is figuring out his life after his abusive father has left his family.

I didn't like the characters, so it was hard to get into the story. The second half was better than the first. I'd be uncomfortable recommending it to anyone younger than 17 given the graphic language and sexual situations, drug use, and violence. I probably wouldn't recommend it anyway though because the story was just blah.

Positives - under 200 pages.
This was an interesting book and I loved that it took place within the area I grew up in. Yes, it's violent, but I don't think the book is nearly as violent as others seem to think. The characters are interesting. It's not a short story, but it definitely reads like one. You only get to know the characters on a need to know basis and the story only shows you one chapter of their life. Everything else is just step for the main event.
There's a lot going on in this book, with serious potential to form a compelling narrative that investigates important themes and issues but instead it just sort of seems like a mish-mash of events whose relationships aren't investigated to a meaningful place. the end is incredibly random and leaves the reader not confused, wanting more, or perplexed in a thought provoking way, but rather leaves the reader simply dissatisfied.
a teen novel about straight boys--what a concept! i seriously think i forgot they existed in my whirl of only reading books about girls and the gays. this one's pretty bleak--lots of drugs, lots of sex, and lots of pointless violence (often to animals!)--but i'd rather read about it in a teen novel than, you know, have to actually see it. the ending isn't particularly neat or happy, either, which i like.
Dilan Smith
Ehh this wasn't the greatest book I've read lately. The book is rather boring It begins with the beginning with summer and the way they act frustrates me. Their ruthless, vulgar, and unappreciative of anything. The way their father treated them was wrong, but they should've heard his father out or something. The ending was disappointing. It wasn't that interesting and I will probably never pick it back up.
Marcus' father beat Marcus' younger brother, Enrique. When Marcus' father left, one year ago, Marcus and Enrique were relieved. Now, their father wants to come home. The boys take a trip to visit their father and tell him how they really feel about the abuse. Very suspenseful, will the boys actually harm their father? Great writing and a great story.
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