Secret Saturdays
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Secret Saturdays

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  170 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Read Torrey Maldonado's posts on the Penguin Blog and the new Penguin Community.

A poignant look into one fatherless twelve-year-old’s struggles with friendship and trust. Sean is Justin’s best friend, at least Justin thought he was. But lately Sean has been acting differently. Sean’s been telling lies, getting into trouble at school, and hanging out with a tougher crowd,...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 15th 2010 by Putnam Juvenile
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Martha
What an absolutely marvelous book this is! I am a recently retired NYC public school teacher, a middle school ELA teacher, to be exact. While reading SECRET SATURDAYS, I kept thinking, " Oh, how I wish I had this book to read with my students!" It speaks eloquently to that age group and toouches upon so many of the issues with which they deal. I was particularly taken with Justin, Sean, Vanessa, and Kyle. They are lovely young people who have been brought up to believe that education and working...more
Anne
This was an entertaining book but a little to didactic for my tastes. I understand that Maldonado was trying to send a message about being true and being yourself but it just went a little overboard for me. The young characters were likable and interesting but I didn't really buy the whole reasoning for the "secret saturdays." I can't really say more about this without giving away too much of the plot.

I will say that the TV show at the end, a takeoff of Oprah, was just a little too much. I thin...more
BAYA Librarian
Justin, a sixth grader in New York's tough Red Hook neighborhood, has a lot in common with his best friend, Sean. Both boys are half black and half Puerto Rican, fans of rap, and though neither realize it, both are keeping secrets about their absent fathers. As Sean begins to flounder in school, hang with a tougher crowd, and bully other kids, they grow apart. But when Justin learns Sean's secret he turns to his other friends and adults in his life to help him repair his relationship with Sean.

A...more
Nancy
Nov 28, 2009 Nancy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: middle school teachers and students
Recommended to Nancy by: a fellow teacher
When I read this book, I could experience what it was like for a young boy to grow up in the Red Hook projects of Brooklyn. Having taught middle school for almost 30 years, I instantly realized what a great read this would be for middle school students. Not only would adolescents identify with Sean and Justin, but they would be intrigued by the mystery in the plot line. As a teacher I know that the choices that Sean eventually made were ones that we would hope all young males in the throws of ad...more
Amy
Justin and Sean are best friends living in a tough Brooklyn, NY neighborhood called Red Hook. Recently, Sean has not been himself and Justin is worried. Sean, a good student who rarely misses school, has suddenly been getting really bad scores and doesn't even seem to be that upset by it. Worst of all, Sean has started fighting with other kids. It has always been Sean's philosophy that fighting with your fists just shows your ignorance. If you are intelligent, you can fight with your words, what...more
Christianne
Justin, a sixth grader in New York's tough Red Hook neighborhood, has a lot in common with his best friend, Sean. Both boys are half black and half Puerto Rican, fans of rap, and though neither realize it, both are keeping secrets about their absent fathers. As Sean begins to flounder in school, hang with a tougher crowd, and bully other kids, they grow apart. But when Justin learns Sean's secret he turns to his other friends and adults in his life to help him repair his relationship with Sean.

A...more
Ebony Wilkins
In Secret Saturdays, debut author and seasoned educator Torrey Maldonado tells the story of two pre-teen boys who try to keep their friendship going amidst school bullying, absent fathers, and troubles at home. Sean and Justin are best friends who survive through the streets of their tough neighborhood, together. When Sean starts keeping secrets, getting in trouble at school, and distancing himself, Justin wants to find out what’s going on with his friend before he gets in real trouble. Maldonad...more
Ari
Jan 31, 2010 Ari rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: guys, middle grade readers
The plot of this book is original and then again it isn't. I thought the secret Saturday visits were obvious but that may be because I'm older than the main characters and I think younger readers may not be able to figure it out, but I had two guesses and halfway through the novel I was able to confidently say I knew what would happen. That was really the only thing I didn't like about the book. Along with the fact that some characters were cliches but that was mostly the minor ones, like Sean's...more
Michelle
A realistic view of what life is like in the projects for a teenaged boy, Secret Saturdays explores the father son relationship from a grittier perspective. The story revolves around Justin, his group of friends, their families, and their classmates. Each of the main and supporting characters bring with them their individual familial crosses to bear. Some have moms, some dads, and some are fortunate to have both. Regardless, all live in the projects of Red Hook — what seems to me to be a locatio...more
Sandra Stiles
Justin and Sean have been friends forever. Sean has always had Justin’s back. Instead of fighting with fists, Sean has always fought with words. Lately something has been bothering Sean. Lately his dissing has become mean and hateful. He has begun using his fists. Justin, Vanessa and Kyle are concerned. Then Justin and Kyle notice Sean and his mother sneaking out at night and no one knows where they are going or why. Could this be the reason Sean has changed?

Torrey Maldonado has crafted charact...more
712anas
Title: Secret Saturdays
Author: Torrey Maldonado

I was reading a book called Secret Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado. The author wants to teach everyone a lesson in this book. He doesn’t want kids to be messing up in school. For example the character Sean was missing assignments, showing up late, and failing tests. He did all these things but when his friend Justin tried to ask why, he just ignored him and didn’t really reply. He would always make up silly answers like he doesn’t know.
At first Jus...more
Erica
Secret Saturdays uses an urban setting and dialogue to grapple with issues of trust, family, friendship, and identity. Justin, Sean, Kyle, and Vanessa have been best friends since fourth grade; for the past two years, the trio of boys have traveled to each other’s apartment, each in the tough Red Hook neighborhood, for their Saturday sleepovers. The group seems linked culturally, they are half black and half Puerto Rican, they each have an absent father, and they aspire to avoid the drugs and vi...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Friendship can be tricky. BFF has certain conditions that it sometimes takes a lifetime to understand. Being there for a friend seems simple - until it's not.

Justin and Sean have a lot in common. Both are half Black and half Puerto Rican. Both are being raised by single mothers intent on raising good, upstanding sons. Both are good students and behave in school. However, all that is beginning to change.

Justin knows that Sean is an e...more
Claudia
Not deathless prose or a terribly original story, BUT...Justin and Sean live in the projects and go to a pretty tough school. Sean's been following his mother's advice for years: diss or be dissed on. Sean's smart and fast. He uses words as weapons. But Justin, his best friend, and the narrator of the book, sees Sean's playful, loyal side and dismisses the word play.

Something's not right...as 6th grade progresses, Sean takes mysterious trips with his mother on the weekends and then lies to his f...more
Laura Mcclanahan
Genre- Teen Real Problems

Justin is a biracial kid living in the bad part of the city, attending an inner-city school, and coping with drug dealers, no father, and an unsure identity. When his best friend, Sean, starts acting weird by bullying others, coming late to school and lying about where he goes on the weekends, Justin's emotions run form confusion, to hurt, to anger. Though Sean told his friends his father was in Puerto Rico, he is really in jail- which is where Justin has been going on t...more
Emily Heath
It's hard for me to judge whether the narrator's inner-city tough-kid voice is realistic or not, but it makes a good story, anyway, if message-y. And my reluctant-reading 4th-grader was apparently captivated enough by the librarian's book talk for this title to demand a copy immediately. Verdict still out on whether she'll actually read it or not, but I did. I hope its target audience doesn't scoff too hard at all the ~feelings~ involved to take anything away from it.
Marla
Feb 27, 2014 Marla added it
CHCS, check out this book by one of this year's Write to Read Day presenters! A Brooklyn native, he set his novel in the neighborhood where he grew up. Have you ever seen a friend suddenly and inexplicably change? Did you want to confront them but lost the nerve? Justin's best friend Sean has started disappearing on random Saturdays and it's warping his whole personality. Justin's determined to get to the bottom of it. But once he knows Sean's secret- what then?
Ms. Yingling
Justin and Sean have been friends for a long time, which is a good thing, because Sean is the best disser in school, and therefor very cool. Both boys have difficult family lives in Brooklyn's Red Hook housing projects, but make the best of their situation by rapping and hanging out. When Sean's behavior becomes erratic, Justin suspects that it is someone tied to his father, who supposedly lives in Puerto Rico but who is actually in jail.

Strengths: Many of my students are interested in reading a...more
MaryKay
Feb 21, 2012 MaryKay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to MaryKay by: Hudson Children's Book Festival
Shelves: 2012
Great book. I hope this book is chosen for World Book Night in the future.

I agree with the endorsement of Rita Williams-Garcia that this book is "Playground tough with a sweet center." It's a clean read. The strongest language is people being called "Bighead" and sucking their teeth. Since it is set in the Red Hook projects, I was braced for harsh language. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a clean read. The story addresses the importance of guys having the freedom to be vulnerable with the...more
Vanessa Phillips
This is a great read for teens struggling with issues surrounding friendship and trust. The main character, Sean, has been acting out, telling lies and getting into trouble at school. He starts hanging out with a tough crowd. The problem is that this isn't like Sean.
Sean, along with his friends Justin, Kyle and Vanessa have been best friends since fourth grade. For the past two years they have traveled to each other’s apartments for their Saturday night sleepovers. They are linked by their cult...more
GRPLTeens Grand Rapids Public Library
Appeal Characteristics: friendship, secrets, bullying, urban lifestyle, father-son relationship, low income families, public schools, hip-hop/rap



Sometimes people hurt others only because they're hurting. That basically sums up this whole book. It was an interesting look at life from biracial perspective of Hispanic/Black culture. This is another great look at being a young male without a father and how it affects your identity especially in "coming of age stories." The group of friends is the...more
Jessica
Appeal Characteristics: friendship, secrets, bullying, urban lifestyle, father-son relationship, low income families, public schools, hip-hop/rap



Sometimes people hurt others only because they're hurting. That basically sums up this whole book. It was an interesting look at life from biracial perspective of Hispanic/Black culture. This is another great look at being a young male without a father and how it affects your identity especially in "coming of age stories." The group of friends is the...more
Heidi
The tough Red Hook projects of New York City form the backdrop in this, the author's first book. Justin and Sean, both 12, have been best friends for what seems like forever. But now Sean is changing--bullying other students, missing classes, and not caring about grades. Why does he disappear every weekend? Why does he lie about where he's been? Justin doesn't understand and just want things to be the way they were. A thread about not having a father living in the house weaves itself through the...more
Kate
Four stars for managing the moral without succumbing to the usual junkiness of poor-boys-tough-school-how-should-men-be books. Our sixth-grade hero lives in a bad neighborhood with his mom but manages to be a good kid, has three close friends who act like sixth graders (which is to say, sometimes breathtakingly kind and sometimes terribly cruel), and learns through the course of the book, especially when his best friend starts acting up in school and taking weird trips.

The focus of the book is n...more
Mwezi
Secret Saturdays is an insightful read. Torrey Maldonado explores the all too real world of two boys (Justin and Sean) trying to survive middle school in New York City. To quote Maldonado its "dis, or get dissed on". The boys also have to deal with the common problem of living in a fatherless household, growing up in the projects, and all the complications this entails. Justin and Sean are pretty tight at the beginning of the story, but then Justin discovers that Sean has a secret. Confronting h...more
Celia
This is a very different kind of story about friendship. Justin and Sean are best friends, they have each other's back in school and on the streets. It's a rough neighborhood, Red Hook, Brooklyn, and the two boys do not want to fight with fists, but with words. School is important to them. And then, Sean begins to change, turning into a bully, and Justin wants to know why. The story rings true, and that could be because the author grew up in Red hook, and was a teacher in a New York City public...more
Carmen liquet
What can i say about this book,living in red hook where the book is from it was awesome,to also have our jhs in it was the best..i can relate to the kid in the book,because thats how it really was growing up in red hook..i read the book in 1 day i couldnt put it down..i had my kids read it after i did they laughed because of the disses but they understood you don't make fun of people because you never know their circumstances..hopefully we get it in our school reading 142 here comes torrey maldo...more
Dariel
it had lots of suspense every page you really wanna read more
7703Emil
Secret Saturdays, by Torrey Maldonado, is a realistic-fiction book telling about young teens growing up in the Red Hook projects. The main lesson/moral is that men don't have to be mean or tough to be men. The theme occurs many times in the story. The plot was great, and it made me want to keep reading on. The solution to it I feel is a little too rushed and easy because at the end it's like everything went back to normal in 5 pages. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about...more
Sarah
An awesome and page-turning story about young African-American and Hispanic (particularly Puerto Rican) teens growing up in the projects. While this story could easily be didactic and preachy, Torrey Maldonado makes it completely real. He clearly knows his subjects and it shows. Sean's transformation is remarkable but believable and I really like that this one focused on middle school boys. So much urban YA is all at the high school level. But this was just a great story about fathers, friendshi...more
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