Saturday, November 10, 2012

Castan, Mike. Fighting for Dontae.

Castan, Mike.     Fighting for Dontae.    Holiday House     150p  $16.95     
978-0-8234-2348-4       ms/hs       VG    Realistic fiction

Javier is a Mexican-American student whose pop is locked up and whose mother is struggling and can hardly afford to buy food, let alone other essentials like shoes.  Javier and his friends are members of the Playaz gang, which he knows will help him obtain the new shoes but will also will eventually land him in trouble with the police.

As Javier enters seventh
grade he is assigned to work with the special-education classroom.  He is certain that this assignment will cause him problems in regard to his social status, particularly with the gang.  However, what he doesn’t count on is the attachment he develops in the class with a student who suffers from both physical and mental disabilities.  As Javier reads every day to his new friend Dante, he realizes that this unlikely friendship and act of service may pull him through his difficulties more than the gang ever could.

This well
-written coming-of-age story will resonate with and inspire many young readers.  It takes a thoughtful and realistic look at situations and circumstances facing adolescents who feel “different”, whether that feeling  pertains to differences in ethnicity, economics, physical characteristics, or abilities.  The plot unfolds gradually and believably while it draws the reader into rooting for the success and survival of Javier and Dante.

This book will appeal to many young readers. It is r
ecommended as an essential book for any middle-school or high-school library.   

School stories, Gangs – Fiction, Realistic fiction          -- Virginia McGarvey   

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