Author:  Jennifer Caloyeras
ISBN:  978-1-935290-08-7
Publisher:  Diversion press, Inc.

Click Here To Purchase Urban Falcon

Urban Falcon, a young adult novel by first-time author Jennifer Caloyeras, is about a sixteen yr-old boy who is trying to find his place at a new school.  Evan is an average American kid who wants to be liked, have a girlfriend, go to parties and just avoid embarrassment.  His first-person voice is typical of that found in teen literature: sarcastic commentary, some self-deprecation and sentences at a clipped pace. 

Evan is likable.  Right away we learn that he likes photography.  This is a key part to the end of the story, but I wish it was used more through-out the book, to better reveal a passionate side to Evan.  I wanted to be with him as he snapped pictures, not just told about it later.

The writing is clear but the chopped over-simplified sentences seem better suited for the pre-teen level (or “Tweener lit,” if you prefer the popular term).  This book is rated YA though, for some sexual content.  Speaking of, I thought the scene of Evan losing his virginity was a little too neat and nice.  For someone who seems to get into embarrassing situations a lot, I expected—maybe wanted—a mishap.  I also questioned the probability that—in a high school that has hundreds of students per grade—the popular girl would pick Evan out at lunch time as the “new kid.”  This seems more likely to happen if she had met him in class.    

The construction of this story is well done.  As Evan messes things up with friends and gets into trouble with his parents, he learns about consequences and trying again. Learning from mistakes is a good theme for young adults, and the premise here is relatable.  Like many YA books, this has a sleight case of bland parent syndrome; despite that, one of the best scenes is when Evan erupts in anger at them, and we get to feel Evan’s frustration.  His friend Roger is an entertaining personality, well-written.  I would recommend this for both boys and girls who like realistic fiction. 

Jennifer Caloyeras is a writer and college instructor at Kaplan University. She was a finalist in both Glimmer Train's November 2007 Short Story Award for New Writers and the 2008 RRofihe Awards as well as an honorable mention in the New Millennium Writings competition in 2008. She has a BA in Literature from U.C. Santa Cruz, an MA in English from Cal State Los Angeles and she is currently completing her MFA in creative writing through the University of British Columbia's optional residency program. Urban Falcon is her first published novel. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband, Basil and two sons, Peter and Phoenix.

 Click Here To Purchase Urban Falcon