The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
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The Last Summer of the Death Warriors

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,391 ratings  ·  304 reviews
Two young men -- one dying of cancer, one planning a murder -- explore the true meanings of death and life in the tense and passionate new novel from the author of MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD. When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short: If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assi...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Arthur A. Levine Books (first published March 1st 2010)
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Maggie Stiefvater
I just finished reading Francisco X. Stork’s latest, THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS, and I think I’m going to have a hard time reviewing it. I know why I liked it so well, and it’s the same reason why I liked his last novel (MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD). I’m just not certain it’s the most convincing-sounding reason for me to love a novel. It makes for a review consisting of mostly emotion and precious little fact. But I think I’m going to say it anyway.

Basically, it’s this: both of Stork’s...more
Milly
(Audible Review)

Though I love Francisco X. Stork and the last book I read from him (Marcelo and the Real World) I wasn't as excited to read his newest book. After reading the book jacket for The Last Summer of The Death Warriors, I was reluctant to read it during the holiday season thinking it would be another downer, a definite no-no for me this time of the year. But after reading Maggie Stiefvater's review of it, I thought of giving it another chance. And good thing I did because it delivered...more
Newengland
So you want to be a Death Warrior? First you’ll have to fully accept your opponent – you know, the hooded guy with the rusting scythe – even if you’re seventeen-years-old and still a virgin, for chrissakes. Then you’ll have to repeat after me: “We’re all dying, even if we don’t happen to have brain cancer at the moment.” Finally, you’ll need your weapons. Love and time. Can’t get enough of those for the daily wars, I’ll tell you. Tempus fugit ain’t the beginning of it when you finally are one wi...more
Abby
Another great ya realistic fiction/coming-of-age story from Stork, author of the great "Marcelo in the Real World." Strangely enough, this is the second teen book I've read in recent months that pays homage to "Don Quixote" and in which the teen character based on Don Quixote is dying from a neurodegenerative condition (Libba Bray's "Going Bovine" was the other one). Unlike Bray's book (which I found incredibly maudlin and poorly written), Stork tackles heavy issues like confronting death as a y...more
Kate
How exactly does an author follow up on a title as incredible as MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD? After reading an ARC of Francisco X. Stork's THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS, I think I've found the answer. It's a different book -- different in voice, different in setting and mood -- but it has that same magical something that breathes life into the characters so that the people who inhabit these pages -- Pancho and D.Q. and Marisol -- feel every bit as real and vivid as Marcelo did in Stork's f...more
Donalyn
I really liked this book until the end, when the climax of the story seemed abrupt and unsatisfying. Pancho's conflict over the death of his sister seemed resolved too neatly and other conflicts in the story were left open at the end.

I do enjoy Franciso X. Stork's writing, though, and I will look for more books from him in the future.
Sarah
When I read Marcelo in the Real World, I messed up and called this book its sequel. The books look similar and probably had the same designer, but aren't related.

Pancho is an angry teenager forced to move into an orphanage because his parents are dead and his older sister was just possibly murdered. He's obsessed with finding the man who caused her death, mainly because she was a mentally challenged woman who couldn't defend herself. But Pancho is forced into an almost servant relationship with...more
xtina
Wow. It has been a long time since I've come across a YA book with as much depth as this one. Frankly, it completely floored me.

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors is a modern day adaptation of Cervantes' Don Quixote. But you don't need to be at all familiar with that work in order to appreciate this novel.

Pancho is a robust young man (17 yrs old), driven by the desire to avenge the murder of his sister. D.Q. is also 17, but seems ageless, wise beyond his years, and is dying of cancer. On the...more
Eva Mitnick
What do people see when they look at you? Do different people see different things? Do any of them see the "real" you? Can anyone see a complete picture? Is there a "real" you at all, and how do you find out what it is?

These are the sorts of questions that arose as I read this excellent coming-of-age novel. Pancho is a New Mexico teenager to whom several awful things have happened all at once - his dad died in an accident, his older "simple" sister died in what Pancho considers to be suspicious...more
Kris
I enjoyed Marcelo in the Real World but really admire this book. It's so good it seems like it was easy to write, which means it was probably really really hard. Stork writes small moments & big moments equally well--capturing dialogue and expressions and humor. Stork created very real characters in Pancho and DQ, and their dialogue and actions are completely believable and worth reading about. This is a book that's very similar to Going Bovine by Bray--another book I love--about the meaning...more
Ellen
I really wanted to like this book since I enjoyed Marcelo in the Real World and this book got great reviews......However, this one just didn't ring true for me. I cannot imagine any kid talking the way D.Q. did or even the smartest teen being so worldly wise. The situations are forced and the ending just didn't work. Also, it was way too didactic to be appealing to any teen! I can't imagine any teen to whom I could recommend this book. Very disappointing.
Kaethe
Based on The Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote de La Mancha, which I've never read, and therefor don't feel equipped to discuss.

Two teen boys, dealing with overwhelming circumstances, look for a way to carry on.

In contrast to The Marbury Lens, nothing very dramatic takes place. Pancho has lost his mother, then father, then sister before the book begins; Daniel was diagnosed with brain cancer six months before.

Instalove doesn't save anyone, although "love" as a more universal goal is often mentioned....more
Heather
Pancho's days are numbered. He has just arrived at the orphanage, after his sisters death but knows he won't stay long, as he plans to murder the man that killed his sister. But as he is paired to accompany DQ, a teenager at the orphanage with terminal brain cancer, he begins to question the anger that is consuming him. DQ and the others he meets along his quest will teach him the true meaning of becoming a Death Warrior.
Jamie
Stork has got to be one of the more unique YA writers today. This book couldn't be more different than Marcelo. His characters are so individual. I actually set the book down with about 40 pages to go so I could savor the ending.

Too bad about the preachy speech towards the end.
First Second Books
Stork writes excellent people who are full of life – even if they’re about to die. I’m beginning to think that his cover designer is obsessed with trees, though – not a bad thing, but puzzling!
Kristen Chandler
I loved this book. It's a story that sounds like a downer, but it's one of those precious books that is so well written, that I couldn't stop reading, no matter where the story took me.
elissa
I love, love, love Stork! I read this slowly, so I could savor it. Not quite as good as last year's MARCELO, but still excellent! 4 1/2 stars.
Natalie
It can be a struggle to get invested in Stork's work, but he has a beautiful way with imagery and world-construction.
Rachel Seigel
A complex and beautiful book about life and how we choose to live it.
Kristine
Seventeen year-old Pancho is one tough hombre. And he's royally ticked. With a deceased mother, his father recently killed in a work-related accident, and his mentally challenged sister, Rosa, dead, he lands in a New Mexico orphanage mad at the world and aiming to make the world pay. Detectives say Rosa's death was due to "natural causes," but Pancho suspects foul play. He formulates a plan to identify Rosa's killer and wreak his revenge.

Pancho encounters an unexpected wrinkle when he meets D....more
Malissa
This book is essentially about a seventeen-year-old boy who is sent to a boy's home/school after both his father and sister die one after the other. He goes having made the decision that he won't stay long, and that by the end of the summer he'll have found and killed the man he believes is responsible for his sister's death.

When Pancho gets to St. Anthony's he is immediately assigned to as helper to D.Q., another teen resident who has terminal brain cancer. Through their time together, Pancho...more
Nicola McDonald
A grand and inspiring story about two boys, DQ and Pancho, whose fates are entwined. Pancho has been surrounded by death and is consumed with anger from being the only member of his family left alive. He plans to avenge his sister's death by killing the man he thinks is responsible for killing her. DQ is diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer, and wants to accept it and live out the rest of his life his way. Yet, his mother is set on his survival, which includes painful ongoing treatments...more
Deanna
Realistic fiction, cancer, dying, identity, boxing, friendship, young love.

I couldn't put down Stork's 2009 novel, Marcelo in the real world, but sadly this one dragged. It took me a month to finish, but my hubby read it in one night. Maybe the theme of boxing turned me off.

The book opens with Pancho, a high school junior, arriving at a Catholic orphanage because his sister has recently been found dead in a hotel room. Previously his father passed away. Pancho has a lot of anger because the pol...more
Ms.P
Reasons why I liked this book and thought it was fantastic:

The characters are nuanced. The main boy characters are not solely motivated by their desire for a female. Similarly, the main girl character is not motivated solely by her desire for a male and she does not base her self worth on the quest for a male. That is not to say that there are no relationship issues, but it’s done in a way that is not the sole focus of the book and it doesn’t drive the plot.

None of the main characters are twee....more
K. Bird
I give 5 stars to books that really grab me, regardless of obvious or nitpicky flaws sometimes. This is one of those times.

I don't know what it is about Stork's ability to capture the kind of calm, disconnected flow of life as his adolescent boys experience it while creating emotional and memorable characters, but as he did in Marcello in the Real World, he does again with The Last Summer of the Death Warriors.

This time, he has an emotionally battered and bruised young man in New Mexico who has...more
Suzanne
I really want to know the kind of teens who can appreciate this book and its predecessor MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD, but I can't think of very many YAs who are sure to dig them because they are philosophical and hinge so mightily on relationships that aren't the sort that provide a big pay-off in the romance department for female readers. I think that Stork is writing about boys mostly, and I am hopeful that I can get some to check out these novels.

This one takes place in New Mexico. Pancho's old...more
Terri
Franciso X. Stork, author of "Marcelo in the Real World," has done it again! In fact, "The Last Summer of the Death Warriors" is even better than "Marcello." Put this on your "must read" list.

After being involved in a fight with a boy in the foster home in which he was staying, Pancho Sanchez has just arrived at St. Anthony's, a home for orphaned boys. His father has been killed in a horrific work accident. His special needs sister has been found dead in a motel room. Though the autopsy says tha...more
Donna
Francisco X. Stork is a wonderful storyteller. This book is such a good story - touching on friendship, right vs. wrong, making decisions, and values. Here's the description from goodreads:

When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short: If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assigned to help D.Q., whose brain cancer has slowed neither his spirit nor his mouth. D.Q. tells Pancho all about his "Death Warr...more
Briony
Hmmmm, how do I describe this book? I would probably say it was like a jawbreaker for me. It started off
pretty good but by the end, my tongue, aka my brain, was raw. Initially, I thought that Stork had created an interesting book, one that I would normally not pick up. I liked how he brought out the morals in Pancho, and I thought that D.Q. was a great character. He further grabbed my attention and had me emotionally invested by setting the plot in New Mexico. My maternal grandparents live in N...more
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Francisco X. Stork was born in Mexico. He moved to El Paso Texas with his adoptive father and mother when he was nine. He attended Spring Hill College, Harvard University and Columbia Law School. He works as an attorney with a state agency in Massachusetts that finances affordable housing. He is married and has two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter.
He loves to play tennis, go for walk...more
More about Francisco X. Stork...
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“There's quiet because you don't need to say anything, and then there's quiet because you don't want to say something.
--Marisol”
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“She reached up and kissed him on the lips. It was a small kiss. It lasted only two or three seconds, just long enough for him to taste the future.” 7 likes
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