Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Barely Missing Everything” as Want to Read:
Barely Missing Everything
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Barely Missing Everything

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  70 reviews
In the tradition of Jason Reynolds and Matt de la Peña, this heartbreaking, no-holds-barred debut novel told from three points of view explores how difficult it is to make it in life when you—your life, brown lives—don’t matter.

Juan has plans. He’s going to get out of El Paso, Texas, on a basketball scholarship and make something of himself—or at least find something bet
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Barely Missing Everything, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Barely Missing Everything

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  245 ratings  ·  70 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Barely Missing Everything
Kari | Books For The Living
I’m not crying you’re crying 😭
Full review to come

Disclaimer: This author is represented by the agency I work for. While this didn’t affect my opinion of the book, I wanted to be transparent.
Tina ( As Told By Tina )
This review was originally posted on As Told By TinaI received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Trigger Warnings: Drug Use, Domestic Violence, Gang Violence, Assualt, Murder, Alcohol use, Gun Violence, Racism, Violence, Police Brutality.

I’ve been highly anticipating Barely Missing Everything since the moment it came across my radar back in 2017. When I saw it was finally releasing in 2019, I immediately began searching Edelwreview.Trigger
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Set in El Paso, this is a very timely read considering what is going on in our country. It touched on so many bleak issues facing poc, particularly latinos/latinas, that if I list them I'm sure to forget quite a few. In spite of this, the book still manages to maintain an undertone of hope. It can get a bit confusing at times with shifts in points of view, but it in no way ruins the story. This is a great and important read.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy prov
Kelli Cross
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review is posted on both my personal account and the account for Crossroads Public Library.

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

I have no words. Heart is broken. I hate this book.

Everyone read it.
Gerardo Delgadillo
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The title, BARELY MISSING EVERYTHING, tells is all. It’s “barely” and “missing” and “everything,” which sounds contradictory, but after you read this book, it’ll all make sense. The story is told in a unusual way: Two teen and one adult narrators. At the beginning, I doubted this was going to work, because this is YA novel, thus I thought adding an adult to the mix would make the novel more adult-ish. It doesn’t. Instead, this POV gives the whole book more depth, if that’s even possible.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is full of pain. The pain of rejection, the pain of disappearing, the pain of failure and the unknown and the physical and, sharpest of all, the pain of disappointing yourself, over and over again, until you forget how to hope for yourself. It's relentless and difficult to read, with tiny rays of sunshine tantalizing enough to make the rest of it hurt more than before.

I super get it, there are no novels about brown lives matter and the voices of boys like Juan and JD and humans like F
Juan is banking on a basketball scholarship, hoping to one day play in the NBA. JD secretly dreams of being a filmmaker. Fabi just wants to survive a second unplanned pregnancy while allowing Juan to thrive. But life is harder for Hispanics living in El Paso, where the police automatically assume the worst about you.

I listened to the audiobook on this, and I kept finding my attention being pulled away from it (particularly during a lengthy algebra test that was just filled with formu
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Juan and his best friend J.D. are trying to put some things together - maybe playing college ball next year, maybe becoming a film maker. But they don’t really know how to put that together and can’t seem to stop derailing themselves. Juan is caught up with a new idea about who his absent father might be. JD is watching his family bust apart. Meanwhile, life keeps pushing them toward graduation and “what’s next,” and they just can’t seem to catch hold of anything good. Tremendously appealing guy ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is everything The Hate U Give was praised for being, except in this case the story is told through the eyes of two Latinx teens and a mother. Third person POV isn't all that common in YA contemporary fiction these days, but Mendez's narrative approach gives us a better perspective of all three characters. This book packs a wallop on all fronts, which is probably when Jason Reynolds begged all us English teachers to read it when the publisher was handing out ARCs at a conference back in ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful. As Juan’s decisions lead from one to another I didn’t realize what we were getting into- but this story is so well crafted it truly felt like we.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
I was excited to read this- I am always looking for male POVs to share with my students, but ultimately found this story to be rambling and poorly paced. I wanted more at the end, less elsewhere, and generally more direction. Many of the long story threads had little pay off and Fabi’s chapters felt particularly underdeveloped. Some interesting characters but in need of some strong editing.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I'm excited to bring another review to you, this time I'm doing things a little differently and listing five reasons why you should read Barely Missing Everything. I started reading an eARC for this, but also had the opportunity to listen to the audiobook as well, so one of my recommendations is for the narration.

Great narration - This bread Barely/>

Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Matt Mendez’s emotionally demanding Barely Missing Everything (2019) explores the lives of working-class Mexican Americans living in El Paso, TX. A teenage boy named Juan anchors the text, which focalizes his experiences as well as those of his mother, Fabi, and his best friend, JD.

Juan and JD are high school seniors planning life after high school, but just barely. They both have hazy visions of the future. JD, a film enthusiast, aspires to make movies and carries a camera
Peter Quesnel
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading this, and my head is spinning. I don't want to give out any spoilers, but I will say that I did not see that coming. I first decided I wanted to read Barely Missing Everything because as I was shelving an advanced reader's copy in my library, I glanced through and landed on a page that caught my eye. It was a page that was typeset as if it were in handwriting and had graphs and, of all things, math problems. Algebra equations. On closer inspection, the math was really the ...more
Loretta McInnis
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m giving this book three stars, though I’m not sure it’s a fair assessment. I had high expectations as I began reading, being a native El Pasoan myself. From the start, the story grabbed me and drew me in. I found myself “navigating” the neighborhoods with ease, laughing at the inside jokes about the city and its culture, easily understanding where the characters were coming from. I soon became critical, however, as I ran into what I perceived to be unforgivable errors in lingo, the spelling o ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit
Juan is growing up in El Paso Texas in the ghetto with his young mother. Juan has big dreams of getting a basketball scholarship and escaping the hard life that he has always known. JD, Juan's best friend has aspirations of being a filmmaker and getting out of his unhappy home. The friends have their fair share of High School drama including a party that ends ends with the cops being called, love interests that seem far out of reach, questions about faith, and what life might look like after Hi ...more
Juan is an excellent basketball player but he's struggling in school. Then he hurts his ankle really badly when he and his friend JD are running away from the cops at a party. His life just seems to get worse and worse, and there does not seem to be any way out. His friend JD is facing similar trials with dead ends and seemingly no where to turn.

This is a pretty bleak, but sadly realistic, I suppose, look at the lives of brown boys in El Paso, TX. It's a debut novel - and reads like
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
A book that felt close. It’s not often that I read books from a male perspective and the way Mendez structure everything among the three main characters was interesting. I felt for each of them. They were written in a way that felt, to me at least, very familiar. I know people who are some version of a JD, Fabi or Juan. I love that. Mendez wrote something that wasn’t perfect, a little cliche at times and rushed at moments but it felt genuine and for that I’ll defintely read whatever else he writ ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Juan is in his senior year of high school and trying to earn a basketball scholarship. Through a series of a couple of impulsive decisions, Juan ends up spraining his ankle and possibly losing any chance of escaping his poverty torn neighborhood. Through alternating points of view, we learn how his mother (who Juan's embarrassed by), has sacrificed for years trying to bring him up after she was left as a single parent at a very young age. The story involves family secrets, gang violence, racism, ...more
Heartbreaking. Rough. Characters that just can’t seem to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” Maybe that has to do with oppressive systems that just don’t allow for a leg up, cycles of poverty that just keep churning, and no relief from a small mistake/misstep. So frustrating and discouraging! This book definitely served as a window for me into a life that is not my own but I see playing out in the lives of my students and my neighbors. As an educator, I know we can do better than the educa ...more
Deborah Hightower
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2019
Thank you NetGalley for the Advanced Readers Copy of Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez. This book moved very slowly for a while. The story is about brown lives and the problems some of them face. The main character is poor, has grown up without a father and fears his future. He has hope at different times in the book and fear at other times. This story provides a voice for hispanic males who may be going through similar challenges.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, sad-books
Ugh, this book is so tragically sad it hurts. But it is also important and beautiful. I found myself regularly wanting to yell at Juan & JD for the choices they are making, but I also completely understood why they felt that was the thing to do at the time. I love YA books with male protagonists, and I know I will be able to hand this to reluctant readers who deal with similar situations in their own lives.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Super depressing. I really hoped that it would be more by the end. It it just kept getting worse. and all the bad things happening are 95% the fault of stupid decisions made by the characters. Really frustrating read and kinda annoying how it seems to show that brown people are to blame for being poor or targeted by cops. Because clearly they are are all thugs. Over and over the characters keep making thug decisions. Not a single one learned from any mistakes. Really really frustrating.
Carla A
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I saw a review that said this book is everything THUG was praised for - to that I would add but wasn't (THUG was too happily ever after for me). Too many things to go into here without giving away too much of the plot. I will say even with the obvious to an adult who reads way to much YA foreshadowing this title was still griping. A true heart breaker. Also solid writing - I hope that Mendez has a few more books in him.
JoЯge Gomez
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Matt’s novel grapples with issues that Brown POC in El Chuco face: poverty, lack of healthcare, toxic masculinity, racial profiling, police brutality, and lack of resources for higher education. I loved the astronomical metaphors Matt uses to capture the characters’ lives, the homages to L&J’s and Kiki’s, the many ways Juan and JD bonded and yet ended up in completely different places, and Fabi’s own arc as a mother.
Ruben Degollado
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Barely Missing Everything, Matt Mendez tells the heartbreaking but hopeful tale of tough and tender boys making their way in a world that doesn’t want to see them succeed. El Paso is shown vividly and we root for Juan and JD as they roam its streets, navigating the threats of violence, with hope still in their hearts. They are fully realized characters with dreams and we see ourselves in them. Well done, Matt Mendez!
May 16, 2019 rated it liked it
That was a well written book but not the book I thought I was getting. I was tempted to give it 2 stars just for a really misleading blurb. There is no road trip really. There is heavy handed foreshadowing and an admittedly realistic, depressing ending. This book focuses on stereotypes and police brutality. There is no happy ending. Also, this is a debut novel and it shows. The pacing is off and the secondary characters all feel flat, even JD.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Wow. I can't believe I wasted time on this book. It went NOWHERE. There was no plot, it was a book about nothing. By the time I got to something that hinted at a rising action and possible climax, I was frustrated that I had wasted as much time as I did reading what I had so far accomplished. Politics aside, the writing was uninspiring and borderline insipid. I normally enjoy YA novels, but this isn't a book I'd recommend to anyone.
Katie Luder
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
A must read for anyone working with young adults, especially Latinx young adults. Wonderful for fans of Jason Reynolds. It's the same raw look into the lives of Latinx families in El Paso, that Jason Reynolds has been providing for African American families. The complexity of the characters is so true to the complexity of real life.
Kiki Cole
Definitely not the ending that I was expecting and everything wrapped up fairly quickly. I think if the book was drawn out a lot more it would have been more impactful and I would have favored a different ending, but it wasn’t the worst book. I understood pieces of the message and could see how it relates to the world.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Patron Saints of Nothing
  • Here to Stay
  • Jackpot
  • Dealing in Dreams
  • Let Me Hear a Rhyme
  • Butterfly Yellow
  • Heroine
  • This Book Is Not Yet Rated
  • The Downstairs Girl
  • Brave Face
  • With the Fire on High
  • The Size of the Truth (Sam Abernathy #1)
  • White Rose
  • The Last Last-Day-of-Summer
  • Internment
  • Shout
  • The Black Coats
  • Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee
See similar books…
Like his characters, Matt Mendez grew up in central El Paso, Texas. He is the author of Barely Missing Everything, his YA debut novel, and the short story collection Twitching Heart. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Tucson, Arizona. You can visit him at