Set in New York City during the reign of the serial killer Son of Sam, this book is about a girl named Nora and her struggles in her senior year of high school. At home, her single mother is struggling to control Nora’s younger brother Hector. Hector is, in a word, vicious. He is the dominant member of the Lopez family and abuses his mother and sister. Neither is willing to admit to a problem. At work, she finds herself engaging in a romantic relationship with Pablo, who is new to the deli. However, her secrecy strains their relationship.
I disliked it. Because the author tried to add several themes and situations that didn’t combine well, there was a cluttered feeling to the story; combining serial murder, abuse, a single parent family, coming-of-age, and romance into one coherent novel is difficult if not impossible. While I do agree that they are all very interesting and worthy topics, there is only so much drama a story can handle. For that reason, I found this book cropping important scenes in favor of the plot, which, though, understandable, could have been avoided.
The most memorable part of this book to me is Hector. I found myself sympathizing with his inability to control his feelings and actions, and with the reputation that gave him. I’m used to being the troubled kid who no one understands, and to see another one in writing was nice, even if he was different in a different, more aggressive way.
Reviewed by Addie, Grade 9, Libbie Mill Library