Ashley's Reviews > Mexican WhiteBoy

Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena
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's review
Dec 20, 2008

it was amazing

From the author of _Ball Don't Lie_ comes another excellent book that nails baseball but is about much more.

Danny is wicked gifted when it comes to baseball--he can knock baseballs out of the park, and his pitching maxes out the meter at the local fair even when he was smashed. But he couldn't throw anything but wild pitches the tryouts at his prep school, and not even he can understand why.

His number one theory, though, is that things would be different if his dad were still around. Not just baseball, either. If his dad hadn't left, then maybe Danny wouldn't be stuck feeling stupid when his relatives in National City tell jokes in Spanish. (Danny's mom, who's white, can't help him out in that department.) The official word is that Danny's dad took off to Ensenada, Mexico, but it starts looking like there's more to the story than that as Danny spends the summer with his dad's family in National City, a mostly Latino pocket of greater San Diego.

But the eventual revelation regarding Danny's dad is much less important than Danny figuring out how to be himself, a task made a little bit easier with the jokey, easy-going crew his cousin Sofia hangs with. Danny's best friend turns out to be Uno, the same half-black, half-Mexican kid who welcomed Danny to the neighborhood by busting his face at the beginning of the summer. Things are good--but they're also ugly, the way things are in real life. What matters is that Danny starts finding his footing in that real life, and baseball takes its place as one bad-ass game that helps him bring things into focus without beating up on himself.
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06/01/2016 marked as: read

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