Spidertown

Abraham Rodriguez, JR., Author
Abraham Rodriguez, JR., Author Hyperion Books $19.45 (323p) ISBN 978-1-56282-845-5
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-023838-9
Paperback - 402 pages - 978-0-375-70178-8
Open Ebook - 259 pages - 978-0-307-80448-8
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This promising first novel begins with the main character imagining his death in a hail of bullets and ends with the aftermath of a drive-by ambush. Set in a drug-infested ghetto of gun-toting teenagers, it tells the story of 16-year-old Miguel and his struggle to escape what he comes to realize is a dead-end path. A runner for Spider, a small-time dope dealer with big-time ambitions, Miguel drives a car on an illegal license and has $7000 stashed in a shoebox in the closet of the bug-infested tenement flat he shares with Firebug, an arsonist. When Miguel falls in love with Christalena, a girl of his own age who works a nine-to-five job for minimum wage, he considers giving up his profitable, if dangerous, occupation for a possible future with her. Amelia, Firebug's crack-addict girl friend, tries to convince Miguel that he's better than the life he leads, but he vacillates between a world in which teenagers live with their parents and one where a 16-year-old makes more money than his father. His indecision ultimately threatens his love for Cristalena and his life. Spiced with gritty, explicit dialogue and narrated in a tension-filled voice redolent of its South Bronx setting, the novel paints a believable and disturbing picture of urban youth for whom their parents' circumscribed existence is at one and the same time a prison and an escape. Major ad/promo; movie rights to Columbia; author tour. (June)
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