Milly's Reviews > The Last Summer of the Death Warriors

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork
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's review
Feb 21, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, realistic-fiction, audible, favorite-ya
Read from November 16 to 30, 2010

(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 the emotions and feelings I'm looking for this time of the year: hope and that happy feeling you get after watching a feel-good movie.

I've been trying to figure out myself what worked so well for this book and why I loved it so. Francisco Stork has a way of tugging at your thoughts and searing in these characters in your mind long after you're done reading the book. I found myself wishing courage and forgiveness into Pancho so he could forget about the anger and his vengeful thoughts towards the person who killed his cognitively-delayed older sister. Page after page, I wished it would be the day Pancho (our 17-year old male protagonist) would wake up and realize that there's more to life than looking forward to killing a murderer and be okay with rotting in prison for the rest of his life for it. Chapter after chapter, I kept hoping that Pancho would come to realize that he too deserves to be happy, that he deserved to receive good things in his life. But because of the tragedies that has befallen him one after the other, first the death of his father and now the death of his sister, Pancho ends up feeling that nothing good can ever happen to him. That's not til he meets D.Q.

D.Q. or Daniel Quentin, is the wise and terminally-ill teenager Pancho meets at St. Anthony's Home. D.Q. quickly takes Pancho into his wing and somehow manages to have Pancho become his companion and helper as he goes through chemotherapy. It is through D.Q. that Pancho finds himself and finally realizes that he too could have good things happen to him, that he too could go to college, that he too could be loved, that he too should have the courage to love back and to not be afraid when that someone leaves...that he, Pancho, could have hope. That was D.Q. wish for Pancho, to have HOPE. D.Q. I find in the book to be the most admirable character of all. He shows us the true meaning of courage and kindness. Though physically the weakest, D.Q. is the strongest emotionally and spiritually in this book. By his actions, he was able to tear the walls of anger that Pancho has put up around him. D.Q. was able to inspire hope and the will to live in Pancho. And through Pancho, D.Q., also discovered himself and finally could live with courage and accept death when it comes.

The book had the power to put you in these characters' shoes and to think and live like they do, to suck the marrow out of life and live like you're dying: To be a Death Warrior! Though it was an emotional and a thought-provoking read, reading it didn't feel taxing but rather a most gratifying read especially in the end. Stork's so effective in making his characters come alive and appear so real, perhaps because he too lived the lives of these characters at that age. Just like MARCELO, this book is another masterpiece. I highly recommend!

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Reading Progress

11/22/2010 "on the 6th disc. I'm really liking it. Wonderin' what Pancho would decide to do in the end. To avenge or not to avenge. Hmmm..."
11/24/2010 "I am almost done and I don't want it to be done!" 2 comments
08/29/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Janina (new)

Janina Thank you for the recommendation, Milly! It sounds like a great read.

Milly It really is! I hope you'll like it too!

message 3: by Arlene (new)

Arlene I've also read Marcelo In The Real World and I loved it. I didn't know he authored this, so I must check it out. Great review Milly. I'm convinced. :)

Milly Arlene wrote: "I've also read Marcelo In The Real World and I loved it. I didn't know he authored this, so I must check it out. Great review Milly. I'm convinced. :)"

Thanks! I loved Marcelo as well! It helps me get perspective with some of the guys I work with. I think you'd like this one. Stork is just a phenomenal author!

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