Some books wreck you for life in a good way. This book by Mr. Saenz does just that. I don’t even remember if I read the inside flap of the book jacket. All I know is I was hooked from page one. This book is, too beautiful not urge everyone to read it. This story talks about family, friendship, love, and how to survive life when it just plain sucks.
Sal is raised by his adoptive gay father Vicente. They live a simple, quiet life with their golden retriever named Maggie. Sal’s life is fairly standard with going to school and hanging out with his best friend Sam. Sal is a calm mannered teen until a classmate utters an anti gay slur at him. Sal ends up in the principal’s office after hitting him. He’s not sure why all of a sudden he’s angry. Sal doesn’t remember his mom who died when he was three and has no clue who his birth father is, but wonders if his reflex to punch comes from his birth dad’s side of the family. Thankfully Sal has Sam in his life. She’s got a potty month like a trucker, but she sticks by Sal. The other best friend Sal has in his life is his grandmother he calls Mima. He gets to visit her on holidays and occasionally since she lives in a different state. She loves to make homemade tortillas which he loves to eat the first fresh one with butter. Sal’s life turns upside down when Sam needs his help. This book talks about the depth of family ties, friends new and old, and dealing with the topic of death.
The characterization is excellent. Each character is distinguished and unique with their own quirky personalities. They come alive off the page and feel like flesh and blood. I laughed, I cried, and now I feel emotionally like I got grazed by a car it was that an intense of a read. There is so much life and poetry in this one book. Please go buy a copy. Buy two because you will want to give one to a friend.