Hijuelos, Oscar Dark Dude.
Atheneum 2008 439p 16.99 978-1-4169-480-4 hs
New York City-born Rico runs off to his friend's farm in Wisconsin and realizes that there's nowhere like home. At 15, Rico is a "dark dude"--an outsider, especially a light-complected guy--who doesn't quite fit in with any group. Fellow Cubans (even his famiy!) and African Americans see him as white and he regularly gets beat up in school. When his friend Jimmy nearly dies from an overdose, they hitchhike to Wisconsin where their friend Gilberto rents a farm and started college. Even in the midwest there are good and bad influences (and lots of weed smoked and grown in the 70's).
Rico regularly reads Huck Finn and imagines all kinds of superhero plots. He's a thoughtful kid who figures out how he and Jimmy will succeed. S.Gooden