Secret Saturdays

Torrey Maldonado, Author
Torrey Maldonado, Author . Putnam $16.99 (195p) ISBN 978-0-399-25158-0
Open Ebook - 978-1-101-17100-4
Open Ebook - 978-1-101-17176-9
Paperback - 195 pages - 978-0-14-241747-8
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Sixth-graders Justin and Sean have been best friends since fourth grade and have a lot in common: raised in Brooklyn projects by their mothers, they're both half black/half Puerto Rican and share a love of rapping. So when Sean starts sneaking away with his mother on Saturday morning trips and increasingly acting like a bully, Justin feels a rift forming. Debut author Maldonado convincingly portrays roughneck playgrounds where boys are expected to be “hard,” and to “[d]is or get dissed on.” Justin's narration resonates with the authenticity of a preteen doing his best in an urban landscape that has taught him all he knows: “It sucks not having a father or uncle, because I see boys out here playing football and doing things with their dads and uncles. I have to do that stuff with my mother. Which is cool. But kind of gay too.” There are some heavy-handed moments—a TV talk show about male emotions helps Justin decide to speak with Sean about his feelings—but the book remains a moving portrayal of the hope to be found through honest relationships. Ages 10–up. (Apr.)

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