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Efrain's Secret

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  102 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Ambitious high school senior Efrain Rodriguez dreams of escaping the South Bronx for an Ivy League college like Harvard or Yale. But how is his family going to afford to pay for a prestigious university when Moms has to work insane hours to put food on the table as it is? And Efrain wouldn’t dare ask that good-for-nothing father of his who has traded his family in for youn ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Ember (first published January 1st 2010)
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Krissy Ronan
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story about a teen who aspires to be more than his circumstances. Unfortunately, temptation wins for a while and there are consequences. I enjoyed this story a lot and loved E and his family (especially little sister, Mandy).
Armando Zertuche
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved it.

Different in a way that really get's into you, like, you realize how important stuff are and how hard you have to work to get where you want but sometimes things mess up and you're left wondering if it's worth it all in the end.

I really loved the character of Nestor I felt like he had to go through so much with living with his sister and selling drugs at the street although I have finished this book that lingering feeling of sadness and down just overwhelming me.

All the characters
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book. I thought it was good, but I didn't like the ending I wish that the author had thought of a different ending.
Richie Partington
18 April 2010 EFRAIN'S SECRET by Sofia Quintero, Knopf, April 2010, 240p., ISBN: 978-0-375-84706-6; Libr. ISBN: 978-0-375-94706-3

"Welcome to your life
There's no turning back"
-- Tears for Fears, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"

"'What freakin' college costs thirty grand?'
"'The best.'
"'Oh, is that right?' Snipes laughs again. 'What do they teach for thirty G's that you can't learn at the College of Mount Okeydoke?'
"'How to run the world.' It may sound like a slick response but that's real talk.
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Efrain is smart, and he knows it. He works hard in school and wants to go to Harvard, but getting there from his South Bronx neighborhood isn't so easy. He doesn't have the cash to take an SAT prep course to improve his score, and is frustrated by the disparity he sees around him and what he knows other kids have handed to them. He is never whiny about those disparities, but they are starkly presented in this story about race, class, ambition, friendship and family. He has the brains, but not ne ...more
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ari by: Doret, Laura, Lyn Miller Lachmann
Efrain's Secret at times seems to have too much going on. The author juggles lots of smaller stories, but the end result while a bit unbelievable is satisfying. There is a dramatic climax that is both expected and unexpected and the ending is not devastating, but it's not either. It's left open as it should be. The multiple stories of Efrain, his family, Nestor and Candace make this novel better and more unique. The story is never a depressing drag, after all it focuses on guys and their convers ...more
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plot: Efrain is an ambitious high school senior living in the South Bronx who aspires to attend Harvard or Yale. But despite his brains and ambition, he is limited by his family’s low income, a school that cannot pretend to prepare students for Ivy League schools, and worst of all, an SAT score that will not make the grade. Efrain needs to earn some money somehow to take an expensive SAT prep class that might help his score. He knows that his mom, a single parent, cannot afford it. So Efrain dec ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Efrain Rodriguez is a high school honor student, 4.0 average, on track to be valedictorian, but he wants more. His mother is barely supporting him and his sister, his father is busy with his new girlfriend and baby, and his guidance counselor is advising him to aim lower than his dream of Harvard - "be a big fish in a little pond" and choose a cheaper, less competitive college. When he needs money to take an SAT prep course so he will meet the Harvard standards, he turns to an old friend -- a dr ...more
Efrain’s Secret
My book report will be about Efrain’s and his school scholarship so he can go to a votec school so he can do more and get a big scholarship but he takes these test and he thinks he didn’t to well because he got into lots of trouble.
This kid Efrain’s Rodriguez want to take this prestigious university school but his mom and dad can’t afford to pay for the sat prep course. His mom has to work very long hours just to get food on the table for there whole family and Efrain’s don’t un
Efrain is an exemplary student in a school with few success stories. He is trying to get into the ivy league, but is finding it difficult. He needs more SAT prep, but it's expensive, and even with financial aid, he knows he's going to have a hard time paying for any college, much less an ivy league university. So he takes advantage of a convenient opportunity... One of his oldest friends sells drugs, and is willing to hook Efrain up as a dealer.

I enjoyed this story. The point Is a little heavy t
Erin Sterling
Efrain lives with his mom and sister in New York and is determined to go to an Ivy League school, if only he can get his SAT score higher. But money is a problem and when his friend Nestor gets himself a job dealing pot, Efrain convinces himself he's only doing it to make enough money for an SAT Prep class and then he'll quit. But as his lies and deceit start to catch up with him, he may end up ruining his relationships (friends, girlfriend, and family) in the process. Interesting story, but the ...more
John Zhu
May 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Efrain's Secret by Sofia Quintero was a really real-life story to me. Meaning it had the problems of a lot of kids. Efrain scored enough to get into an Ivy League college but he doesn't have enough money. Efrain doesn't get enough money at his regular job and lies to all his friends, his girlfriend, and his family about dealing drugs. Efrain doesn't really know what he's getting into. Soon, he gets busted by two undercover cops and hurts everyone he knows.
I would recommend this book because it
Mark Isero
Efrain is the top student in his class, but he's worried that his low SAT score will prevent his acceptance at Harvard. He's also concerned about paying for college, so he decides to sell drugs. Big mistake.

His biggest mistake, actually, is that Efrain realizes only on page 215 that he didn't need extra money because Harvard offers a free ride to students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year. For such a smart guy, Efrain isn't too smart.

I can't recommend a book where I don't believe the
efrain knows better than to help his friend nestor deal drugs, but he needs money for an SAT prep class. he dreams of going to harvard, and it wouldn't hurt to help out his family and spoil his new girlfriend, candace, a little bit. but at what risk does he take this job?

i liked this better than i expected. i imagined a different, preachier ending and what happened was a welcome surprise. however, i never understood what the big deal about harvard was for efrain. it was never fleshed out why he
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
Excellent urban YA fiction that I'm looking forward to purchasing for my library. I think this offers a good opportunity to pry kids away from the street fiction they love. There's drugs and some violence and a hint of sex, and the gritty Bronx setting will appeal to kids from similar neighborhoods. That said, it's all about a boy who's so desperate to go to Harvard he starts selling drugs to get the money. The characters actually seem like real kids and while the end is a little moralistic, ove ...more
Mary Louise Sanchez
Efrain is not the stereotyped Hispanic inner city South Bronx high school senior. He has a high grade point average which qualifies him to be the valedictorian of his class and he'd like to continue his education at an elite Ivy League School but Harvard's tuition is out of his reach and so is the money to take a prep course for the SAT. Efrain is desperate and uses his knowledge of the streets and his friend, Nestor, to connect with drug dealers for this money.

It was interesting to enter Efrain
May 14, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, urban
This book would probably reach inner-city kids a lot better than it did me. Of course, they are the intended audience for this story about a 17-year-old kid who is determined to go to Harvard despite being, as he puts it, "too brown and too poor." Efrain is very smart in a book sense, but ends up making the terrible decision to start selling drugs on the street in order to pay the mounting costs involved in just applying for college (never mind actually paying tuition, fees, housing, etc.). The ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, urban, male, voices
Efrain's secret isn't really closely guarded since by a few chapters, the reader realizes that Efrain will go to the dark side of drug dealing for some easy money to help him pay for college. The plot is fairly common, there's a catty girl who gets Efrain's attention, he's from a broken home and has no respect for his father, yet decides to run drugs even though everyone believes in him and wishes to see him succeed. Unfortunately, Efrain is so caught up that he ends up shot and moving to Puerto ...more
Oct 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 722
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Getting into the book was difficult at first. It reminded me of reading Shakespeare in that you have to get to the place where you flow with the language before you can swim with the story. Once I started swimming, though, I could not put this book down for a moment. I rooted for protagonist Efrain and his buddy Nestor the whole way. Nestor is one of more complex characters I've read in YA recently.
Beth Baryon
This book is good for what it is. An urban fiction where the main character makes the wrong choices for the right reasons, and how it turns out exactly how "they" always say it will. The consequences to his future, friends, and family are immeasurable. This would be great for urban teens as they will find Efrain relatable and likable. It also includes current topics like Hurricane Katrina and opportunities for poor.
Anna Kim
This is an insightful look at how one person's dream to become a better person may sometimes require him to carry out some dirty deeds in order to achieve that dream. The characters are all depicted realistically and compassionately without judgment for their decisions and behaviors. Though the ending is a bit convenient, it doesn't detract from the overall plot.
I thought it was kind of odd that Efrain's HS offered a criminal law course, but not Calculus. What does that say about what the teachers and students think is important for the kids to know?

I liked the voice in this, even though I have no idea if the slang is out-of-date or authentic or whatever. The language had a lovely rhythm.
lola Franco
Aug 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-class
i really feel like this should have been a different book. a boy this smart would have been counseled better. there is no way that they wouldn't have been letting him know his options. i just felt like the author tried to hard to make the plot go this way.
Jan 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-reads
This was decent for an ya urban lit book. There were things I liked for example the vocab words to start off each chapter. The language seemed authentic for the characters-not forced. A little predictable at the end, but overall I would recommend to reluctant readers.
Very powerful and moving story about a smart but poor kid from the South Bronx who wants to go to Harvard. In an attempt to help pay the bills, he decides to sell drugs...never a good choice!
Joanna Huo
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is a very exciting book, one that you'll never be able to put down.

if u didnt read this book yet, i highly recommend this book.
Jul 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was harader to get into than I expected. It does have so much of the characters slang that I found it at first to be a little overdone. Afterwards, glad I read it.
Brian Austin
May 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
poor nestor he was my favorite character and I had a feeling something was going to happen I could tell before I ended the 5th chapter this book was amazing though
Eric Zheng
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good book. I recommend high schoolers and even middle schoolers to read this. This book has a great storyline and moral to it. Love it!
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Sofia Quintero is the author of several novels and short stories that cross genres. Born into a working-class Puerto Rican-Dominican family in the Bronx., the self-proclaimed Ivy League homegirl earned a BA in history-sociology from Columbia University in 1990 and her MPA from the university's School of International and Public Affairs in 1992. After years of working on a range of policy issues fr ...more
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