Frankie Towers is a good kid. He helps out at the family restaurant, he’s a loyal friend to his buddy Zach, and he idolizes his big brother Steve. But lately Frankie’s had to cover up for his brother more and more – Steve’s been staying out all night and coming home with black eyes and bruises. Steve’s street cred may be rising, but Frankie’s getting concerned about his brothers’ choices. Frankie’s romantic life is getting complicated, too. He’s been pining over Rebecca for years now – and just when she seems to notice him, the most popular senior in the school is suddenly hanging all over her.
Frankie’s problems are as realistic as the spot-on teen voice used in Coert Voorhees’ novel. Steve’s increasing desire for the “respect” of the local gang, Frankie’s growing relationship with Rebecca, and his need to stand up for himself and his friends are all a catalyst for Frankie’s growth over the course of the story. The small-town New Mexico setting is vibrant, and lends the novel its own language. The realistic language includes frequent casual swearing, but that it is absolutely a contributing factor in the success of the novel’s voice.
Voorhees’ characterization is the strongest aspect of this novel, which one exception. While most of the characters are very well-rounded and show both strengths and weaknesses, the novel’s “bad guy” is almost a caricature of the YA mean jock. Not only does he graphically beat up Frankie and go after his girl, but his very rich family is trying to buy up and homogenize the entire town. He is the one character who is not given a well-rounded personality, and it makes him stand out in the world of the novel.
Great cover art and a story with high teen appeal will make this an easy sell. Engaging characters, an honest voice, and a classic coming of age story will make teens stick with the novel.
Coert Voorhees on the web
The Brothers Torres on the web