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The Road to Delano

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Jack Duncan is a high school senior whose dream is to play baseball in college and beyond―as far away from Delano as possible. He longs to escape the political turmoil surrounding the labor struggles of the striking fieldworkers that infests his small ag town. Ever since his father, a grape grower, died under suspicious circumstances ten years earlier, he’s had to be the s ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Rare Bird Books (first published December 1st 2019)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A compelling story about an often forgotten part of history. John Desimone has skillfully captured time and place with his descriptive storytelling. 1968 the California central valley Jack is a high school senior determined to earn a baseball scholarship and make it out of his small town. Things have been hard for Jack and his mother after the death of his father. Resolute to save the farm Jack heads to town to sell some farm equipment when he runs across one of his fathers old friends who share ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
In 1968, Jack Duncan is a high school baseball player. Now a senior, he has big dreams for life and baseball after high school. He is eager to leave his small town behind. Times are also hard for he and his mother financially.

During this time, Jack finds out his deceased father was murdered. Now Jack can’t get it out of his head and wants to know what happened and why.

Not long after, his best friend, Adrian, is thrown in jail, and Jack must work to get him out.

Jack was an endearing character, an
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking and powerful—The Road to Delano by John DeSimone touches on issues of justice, destiny, and equality that resonate from the time of the novel through today. A story you won’t soon forget.

In the 1930s, Sugar Duncan and his new wife Shirly drive down the road to Delano and purchase land to set up roots for their family. Their son, Jack Duncan, grows up in Delano with dreams to leave it behind. When Sugar dies, Shirley is left to raise Jack on her own. Times are hard for Shirley,
DJ Sakata
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favorite Quotes:

Coach never yelled. He just stared at that empty space above a boy’s head as if he were wondering what kind of torture would produce one ounce of common sense in the teenager’s brain.

It’s one thing to be poor. It’s another thing to be forced into poverty by men who don’t care that we’re human beings.

He plays like a turkey before Thanksgiving.

My Review:

This was my introduction to John DeSimone and I found his storytelling to be absorbing and deeply insightful. He implanted me so t
Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Small town politics and characters you can connect with. You are in for a treat with this book.
This was a new to me author and I was unsure about this book at first, but it was a very engaging and easy read. Well until the end a little surprise for you towards the end.
I gave this book 4 stars. Give it a try.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.
The Road to Delano by John Desimone

1968 was a pivotal year for both Jack Duncan, our protagonist and Cesar Chavez, the labor leader and civil rights activist, who lead the Farm Workers’ strike against the Delano area table grape growers. This political climate is the backdrop for our story in this poignant and thought-provoking story.

Jack Duncan had big league dreams and getting out of a small agricultural town in Central Valley to escape a harsh life struggling and living with his mother as a
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you HFVBT, John DeSimone and
Rare Bird for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Road To Delano
By: John DeSimone

*REVIEW* ☆☆☆☆
I always find books interesting that teach me something about history that I have never heard of prior. The Road To Delano is just such a book. It's a fictional story, but there are bits of non fiction as well. The hero, Jack, is soon to graduate and has dreams of college and baseball and his girlfriend, but
Mar 26, 2020 rated it liked it
I would like to thank the author John Desimone for sending me a advance readers proof copy paperback to read.
High school baseball star, Jack Duncan is at the top of his game. Scouts are scouting at his games, his girlfriend and him have been together for a while and are talking about their futures and that all changes within a matter of moments.

Jack's father died years ago, and Jack was younger in that he doesn't remember much. His father had left on some business, and never returned. It was figured that he had fallen back into his gambling habits and got in with some dangerous men again. Jack's mother
Robin Loves Reading
Jack Duncan grew up in one of those American cities where escape is pivotal. For Jack to have any type of future, he must win a baseball scholarship in order to create a promising future. Currently, Jack and his mother's property is in jeopardy of a tax sale. With hardly any equipment left in their family farm, John's mother has been promised a check big enough to cover the tax bill and to fulfill her dream to open her own shop.

As Jack takes the long drive on the combine, passing striking worker
Suzy Michael
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
Half part Thriller, half part Coming of Age story, The Road to Delano is a fast paced, original tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat and turning the pages!
Set in the 1960's in rural Central Valley, California, we meet our protagonist- Jack, at the age of 18. His dream of getting out of Delano with a baseball scholarship is derailed when he discovers his father's death 10 years prior may not have been an accident at all. And Jack will do whatever it takes to bring the murderer to jus
May 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn into this story immediately by the snappy prose and wonderful imagery. Combine that with my fascination for history, love for baseball, and interest in eras of immense change such as Cesar Chavez and his fight to establish a labor union for farmers, this was a book that I read late into the night. The characters of Sugar Duncan, his son Jack, and Jack’s best friend Adrian, all face hardships in different forms. When Jack confronts insurmountable odds in his own quest to create a bett ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Initially intrigued by the premise, I eventually gave up on the uneven tempo of plot and character.
Apr 16, 2020 added it
Shelves: ebooks, arc-s

This book struck a pretty personal chord for me. My grandfather was a minister in California during the same time period this book took place and his congregation was mostly made up of migrant Mexican farmworkers. My father and his family were farmworkers as well, he and his siblings helping in the prune orchards when they weren’t in school.

While my mother wasn’t a farmworker or descended from one, she was a hardcore hippie and one of her main causes was farmworker rights. As a result
Jessica Belmont
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ah, I just love historical fiction sometimes. I really enjoyed The Road to Delano. What was cool about this book was that it was engaging while maintaining the realism needed. Clearly, John DeSimone did a ton of research for this novel, because it felt factual and I got to learn about a point in history I didn’t know much about.

I enjoyed the characters in this book as well. John DeSimone understands how to make a flat character come to life which was great to read.

This is a story packed full of
Ruth Hill
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

First of all, this is a fairly clean young adult book. There are no bedroom scenes, and all profanities are very mild and will probably no offend most people. The violence included in the book is necessary and not overly descriptive nor gratuitous.

I am not familiar with much of the history surrounding Chavez and labor unions. I appreciate the fact that this b
Amy Poirier
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was described to me as 'a historical fiction with baseball'. I like historical fiction and baseball, so I was sold. I got so much more than I bargained for, though. The Road to Delano is fascinating, heartbreaking and thought-provoking. Sure, there's baseball, but the heart of the story focuses on the friction between the fieldworkers and growers during the time of early unionization.

Told from the point of view of two high school seniors who dream of leaving their simmering farming com
John DeSimone
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I began working on this book in 2010. Looking back it seems like a long time. It was challenging to research, and even more difficult to write. The story came to me in little pieces. I met many California writers during my travels in workshops, and many of them contributed in ways I never expected. I remember one workshop, an elderly woman who was very quiet during all the discussions after one session took me aside. She told me her story as a young attorney working in and around Delano back in ...more
Diane Secchiaroli
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a novel set in California during the grape harvesters strike, gives an interesting perspective on the striker’s lives and hardships. The history’s insights are true to the times. It a story about Jack a high schooler whose family has lost all their land to an unscrupulous landowner and his efforts to right wrongs he experiences. He and his friend Adrian are obsessed with baseball and hope to use their gifts to get scholarships to college. His girlfriend Ella plans on going to college wit ...more
Meaghan Hurn
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Road to Delano is an interesting read that combines historical events with fiction, characters you can relate to and small-town politics that are corrupted.

This is a compelling story with so many variables, that the author clearly researched. The narrative takes you on a journey through the turbulent days of Central California during the 1960s, enriched with the drama of fighting over water rights and gambling for someone's life. This story was a continuous growing plot that took you on a ro
Angela Sanford
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first that I have read by this amazing author and it definitely will not be my last! Jack is trying to leave Delano behind, but when he discovers his father's death was no accident, he knows he has to find the answers that will lead him to his killers! Filled with heartwarming emotions, as well as, dangerous situations, this great novel has something to keep each reader intrigued. I look forward to reading more of author John DeSimone's work! I was given this ARC in exchange for my h ...more
María Andrea
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan playing on the radio, the Vietnam War raging and the entire world changing, best friends Jack and Adrian just want to get out of Delano, California, and all of its troubles. And they’ve got a ticket out in their hands: they’re both outstanding baseball players.
However, when an old family friend appears with new information regarding Jacks’ father death, Jack’s house on the edge of foreclosure and Adrian in trouble for his father’s alliance to Cesar Chavez's strike
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Road to Delano is novel, but it’s based in truth even if the characters aren’t all based on specific real people, and John DeSimone has written that truth in a way that is vivid and cinematic, while still being emotionally real.

While I’m not a lifelong Californian like the author, I did spend my teen years in the San Joaquin valley, in Modesto and Fresno, and while those years were in the 80s, not the 60s, I remember all too well the news coverage of Cesar Chavez’s last hunger strike – the o
Jathan Fink
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A high school athlete. A failing vineyard. The shocking revelation that will alter the course of a family’s life forever. In John DeSimone’s new novel, The Road to Delano is paved with the kind of challenges that transform a boy into a man.

His dad is dead. His mother may be hiding something. And the family property is about to be sold to the highest bidder. But teenager Jack Duncan has a plan to get out of Delano, the little agricultural town where he resides, a community fraught withe political
Nerea Omulimi
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Road to Delano is a historical fiction book that portrays a poignant story about a family that lost everything they had, including the head of the family. It turns out the people the family thought to be friends were not true friends. The friends envied them and tried to rob them of all their belongings.

Sugar and Shirley were successful farmers. They had a kid named Jack. After the death of Jack’s dad, Jack was assigned by his mum the responsibility to help save their home from being taken a
Crystal Zavala
Jul 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tlcbooktours
The Road to Delano is predominately set during the Delano Grape Strike in the late 1960s. The Delano Grape Strike was a labor strike between the Hispanic and Filipino migrant workers and the table grape farmers in a fight for fair work and living conditions.

High school senior, Jack Duncan, is very close to graduation and hopefully headed to college on a baseball scholarship. Jack's mom, a widow, has worked hard to keep their home, but a large property tax bill is threatening to force a sale. Whi
Melina Lobo
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Road to Delano is a Historical Fiction/ Coming of Age story by John DeSimone.
An adventurous and mysterious tale that is mixed with past realities (that I had to look up because I wasn't aware of it) but the author has done a wonderful job of balancing both.
Jack is your typical hardworking character who's life was thrown upside down at a very early age and now with all his stughles to stay afloat as well as get to the bottom of his dad's death, he also has to deal with the political situation
Nicky Skene
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not my usual genre however has opened me up to more like this. The road to Delano was very well written with relatable characters. Jack’s dream is to play baseball at college with his best friend Adrian, both hoping for scholarships to fulfil their dream of leaving their homes behind. The book begins with backstory of Jack’s parents and of his fathers gambling and his suspicious death. His mothers home and land - farmland his father worked and built - are in danger of being lost due to unpaid ta ...more
Agustina Sureda
Jun 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Road to Delano is a novel written by John DeSimone that tells the story of a high school senior, Jack Duncan. Jack lost his father ten years ago, but the circumstances were very suspicious, and he is determined to find out the truth about the case. In the middle of that, he encounters several issues and people who will, but also won't, help him in his new career.
This book was amazing! It's a very interesting novel and perfect for teenagers and young adults who like being detectives. The cha
Brenda Blair
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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