cover image Diamond Park

Diamond Park

Phillippe Diederich. Dutton, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-59335-425-4

Diederich (Playing for the Devil’s Fire) interweaves Mexican American culture and murder in a rollicking road trip adventure that offers action without sacrificing emotional heft. Flaco, a teen living in Houston, dreams of finishing his senior year of high school and pursuing an art career. Though his caring but tense family frustrates him, he finds solace with other Mexican Americans: friends Magaña and Tiny as well as crush Susi. When the four take a ride to Diamond Park to pick up Magaña’s dream car, a 1959 Chevy Impala, an incident leaves one man dead, another on the run, and Susi on the hook for a murder. Flaco and Magaña set off to find the runaway man, whom they suspect committed the murder, a journey that takes them into Mexico and further into a world of violence, bribery, and narcos, knowing that without their help, Susi will go down for the crime. Slow, needlessly detailed exposition eventually gives way to a plotline that leaves some questions unanswered, but Flaco’s realistic narrative voice offers a unique and thought-provoking, conversational perspective on class, mental health, and misogyny. Ages 14–up. Agent: Isabelle Bleecker, Nordlyset Agency. (Mar.)