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Mexican Whiteboy
Contributor(s): De La Pena, Matt
ISBN: 0440239389     ISBN-13: 9780440239383
Publisher: Ember
    OUR PRICE: $8.99  
Product Type: Paperback - Other Formats
Published: January 2010
Qty:
Annotation: Danny's tall and skinny. Even though he's not built, his arms are long enough to give his pitch a power so fierce any college scout would sign him on the spot. Ninety-five mile per hour fastball, but the boy's not even on a team. Every time he gets up on the mound he loses it.
But at his private school they don't expect much from him. Danny's half Mexican. And growing up in San Diego means everyone else knows exactly who he is before they find out he can't speak Spanish, and before they realize his mom has blond hair and blue eyes. And that's why he's spending the summer with his dad's family. To find himself, he might just have to face the demons he refuses to see right in front of his face.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Identity (Philosophical concept); Juvenile fiction.
Self-acceptance; Juvenile fiction.
Racially mixed people; Juvenile fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2007032302
Lexile Measure: 680
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.25" H x 5.25" W x 0.75" (0.44 lbs) 249 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 124044
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 9.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q44556
Reading Level: 4.2   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 17.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
DANNY'S TALL AND skinny. Even though he's not built, his arms are long enough to give his pitch a power so fierce any college scout would sign him on the spot. A 95 mph fastball, but the boy's not even on a team. Every time he gets up on the mound he loses it.
But at his private school, they don't expect much else from him. Danny's brown. Half-Mexican brown. And growing up in San Diego that close to the border means everyone else knows exactly who he is before he even opens his mouth. Before they find out he can't speak Spanish, and before they realize his mom has blond hair and blue eyes, they've got him pegged. Danny's convinced it's his whiteness that sent his father back to Mexico. And that's why he's spending the summer with his dad's family. Only, to find himself, he might just have to face the demons he refuses to see right in front of his face.

"From the Hardcover edition."


Contributor Bio(s): >Mexican Whiteboy is Matt de la Peńa’s second novel. He attended the University of the Pacific on a basketball scholarship and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at San Diego State University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he teaches creative writing. Look for Matt’s other books, Ball Don’t Lie, We Were Here, I Will Save You, and The Living, all available from Delacorte Press. You can visit him at mattdelapena.com.



Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring)
The one place Danny feels accepted is the baseball field. He imagines becoming a star, making his father proud enough to return from Mexico. This fast-paced baseball story is unique in its gritty realism, framed in the context of broken homes and bicultural pressures. De la Pena poignantly conveys the message that, despite obstacles, you must shape your own future. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #5)
Danny lives in two worlds but doesn't belong anywhere. The kids at his private school never let him forget that he is half Mexican. His cousins are uneasy around him because he is too white; he doesn't speak Spanish or fit into their San Diego barrio culture. The one place Danny feels accepted is on the baseball field, where his ninety-five-mile-per-hour fastball gets everyone's attention. But Danny only wants the attention of one person: his father. Danny imagines becoming a star pitcher and making his father proud enough to return from Mexico. Despite his natural talent, Danny pitches wildly every time a big-league scout is watching, until he meets Uno, a tough street thug who offers unexpected friendship and teaches him to let his talent take control and release the hurt inside. This fast-paced baseball story is unique in its gritty realism and honest portrayal of the complexities of life for inner-city teens, framed in the context of the emotional confusion of broken homes and bicultural pressures. De la Pena poignantly conveys the message that, despite obstacles, you must believe in yourself and shape your own future. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2008 September)

Gr 9 Up— No matter where he lives, 16-year-old Danny Lopez is an outsider. At his private high school in wealthy northern San Diego County, "nobody paid him any attention…because he was Mexican." It didn't matter that he was half white. But when he visits the Mexican side of his family in National City, just a dozen miles from the border, Danny feels "Albino almost" and ashamed. He doesn't even speak Spanish. Rather than learning to blend in, Danny disengages from both worlds, rarely speaking and running his mind in circles with questions about how he might have kept his absent father from leaving the family. He decides to spend the summer in National City, hoping to get closer to his dad's roots and learn how to be "real" and stop feeling numb. Instead, he finds that, by the end of the summer, he has filled the void through unexpected friendship and love. In this first-rate exploration of self-identity, Danny's growth as a baseball pitcher becomes a metaphor for the conflicts he must overcome due to his biracial heritage. Dialogue written in a coarse street vernacular and interwoven with Spanish is awkward to read at first—like Danny, readers are made to feel like outsiders among the hard-edged kids of National City. But as the characters develop, their language starts to feel familiar and warm, and their subtle tenderness becomes more apparent. A mostly linear plot (with occasional flashbacks), plenty of sports action, and short chapters make this book a great pick for reluctant or less-experienced readers.—Madeline Walton-Hadlock, San Jose Public Library, CA

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