personally believe all young adults from all backgrounds, countries,
and financial “cliques” should go to their local bookstore and pick up a
copy of this fantastic debut novel, that teaches us exactly how really difficult are the choices we have to make in life.
book focuses on a young man by the name of Efrain. Efrain is one of
those model students, who’s headed straight for valedictorian status
when his senior year comes to a close. He has put all his time and
energy into getting the perfect SAT score in order to go to an Ivy
League school to further his education. This young Latino man is
incredibly smart, polite, his friends like him, his teachers love and
want to write recommendations for him, and he serves as the head of
household for his mom and younger sister. His mother is an extremely
hard-worker who wants nothing more than for her son to get the “best”
that life has to offer. Although she is separated from their father,
Rubio, the man still lives down the street with the new family he traded
his old family in for.
Not only does Efrain
love his family, and works his “brain” off in order to get where he’s
going to secure the future he desperately wants for himself, but he also
has met up with a new transfer to his school named Candace Lamb.
Candace is another extremely bright young adult who originally came from
New Orleans. She lost most of her family in the horrible hurricane,
and is slowly trying to find the “spirit” that she once had in
abundance. When she begins to date Efrain and learn about the struggle
he is going through financially, she begins to come around. He becomes
the one she can talk to about the horrific past she’s been through, and
she begins to reach out and trust someone again with her emotions.
(as in most peoples’ lives), money is the biggest factor in trying to
change your life. Efrain has filled out every financial aid form he can
possibly think of in order to get to the Ivy League, but his SAT score
had to be 2100 in order to get taken, and his test comes in at a very
good number of 1650; unfortunately, he needs far better to get through
those ivy-laden doors. He will need extra money almost immediately in
order to pay the application fee to take the test again, as well as try
to save for the $11,000+ room and board that he will need each year…and
there isn’t a job in the world that will allow him to go after what he
wants. Well…there is one job that his old friend Nestor (who dropped
out of high school) is currently working at. And soon, Efrain throws
away all his pride in order to do something criminal. It’s not really
as if he’s changed; he simply thinks that doing one bad thing for
a great cause isn’t all that bad. The police, however, feel
differently, and Efrain’s life is quickly turned upside down.
dreams out the window and his family heartbroken, Efrain must find a
way to right the wrong he’s done. In addition, he must find the
strength and the courage to stand up for a friend, even though his
future will be changed forever.
As a single mom
who works her behind off to make sure that my senior daughter can go to
college, I completely related to this story of bravery, hardship, and
financial woe. I have long been a proponent that the most deserving
people should be the people who receive good things in the world,
not just the people who can afford it. There are times in all our
lives where we see the “easy get,” but we have to stay on the
straight-and-narrow, even when we see others “veer” off and end up
getting what they want instead of what they deserve. There are many
important lessons taught in this book that people of all ages need to
learn. I applaud the author wholeheartedly.