I picked this one up because it was the only book from the Oregon Reader’s Choice Award senior division that I hadn’t already read. It was also a story that I wouldn’t ordinarily be drawn to, and I think it’s important as a librarian to read widely so that I can recommend widely.
I never quite knew where the story was going – it takes place partly in New York and partly in rural Wisconsin – two places where Rico doesn’t quite fit in. I thought the characters were interesting, and Hijuelos has some great observations about being in that strange, in-between place where you belong yet don’t belong. I’d recommend it to teens who are interested in reading about those experiences – either as a reflection of their own lives, in some way, or as a window into what other teens experience.
Source: my public library