In this winning combination of a thriller and a comedy, Hector and his ``carnal'' (Spanish for blood brother), Mando, two realistically represented teens from East L.A., are first excited and then scared when they and Hector's Uncle Julio become the only witnesses to a robbery. Soto ( Baseball in April and Other Stories ; Pacific Crossing ) comically contrasts the adolescent wit and energy of these teens (when the two go with Julio on a dinner date, Hector notices that ``All evening Julio had complimented Vicky with such comments as . . . `I like the buttons on your dress,' and `You're a tidy woman'--small talk that made Hector wonder how his uncle ever got girlfriends'') with the slowness and spaciness of the robbers (as they look around for a car to steal, Huey ``Crybaby'' Walker suggests, ``Let's get another American car,'' to which Freddie Bork responds, ``Yeah, I like what GM's doing''). The boys' language is a lively and often musical mixture of English and Spanish, and a glossary provides readers with translations of words that may be unfamiliar. An entertaining novel, especially for contemporaries of these hip, likable protagonists. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994 Release date: 03/01/1994 Genre: Children's
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