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by Gary Soto

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-15-201658-9
Publisher: Harcourt

In ten short stories, Soto (Buried Onions, 1997, etc.) presents a kaleidoscope of Mexican-American adolescents and the bullies they confront—bullies ranging from tough, menacing teens to life’s unavoidable truths. The stories are as diverse as the characters, from cat-fighting girls to insecure boys. Among the best: “Your Turn, Norma,” a heartbreaking account of a persecuted girl and her struggle to protect the doll she is charged with carrying for a week as part of a class assignment; “Born Worker,” which juxtaposes a hard-working, salt-of-the-earth boy with his scheming, lazy cousin; and “Mother’s Clothes” in which a girl copes with grief by hunting out and taking back her dead mother’s clothing, dispensed to thrift shops by her father. All of the stories exhibit dazzling imagery and Soto’s intense understanding of his subjects. He deftly brings to light relationships and their complications among family, peers, and elders in a well-crafted collection that’s lively, absorbing, and meaningful. (Fiction. 12-15)