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Jesse (Point Signature) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Series: Point Signature
  • Mass Market Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Reissue edition (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590528378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590528375
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-Set in Fresno, California, in the late 1960s, this coming-of-age tale is told from a Mexican American's point of view. Jesse, 17, is full of self-doubt amid the increasing tensions caused by the war in Vietnam, pressure from within his circle of friends to join the protests of Cesar Chavez, and by the general social and academic milieu of the local community college that he and his older brother attend. The young men share a rundown apartment; they work as day laborers in the fields as well as find and sell junk to earn their way. Already insecure about his lack of experience with girls, Jesse has his nose bloodied by a drunken high-school acquaintance while on his first date. This violence presages other incidents that, although relatively minor, allude to the overarching shadow cast by the war and by the omnipresent draft. The story is poignant, pregnant with unfulfilled promise and dreams of a future that is hoped for but rarely imagined. Simple words reveal universal experiences; innocent and open, Jesse begins to see the real world and discover his place in it. The ending is a bit bleak, suggesting the likelihood of more of the same mindless, backbreaking, spirit-crushing work, with a plethora of unknowns lurking just over the horizon. Readers looking for a finely written, contemplative narrative will appreciate this work.
Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 10-12. To escape a home dominated by his alcoholic stepfather, 17-year-old Jesse abruptly leaves high school, moves into an apartment with his older brother, Abel, and takes classes at Fresno City College. It is 1968, and the brothers face both the threatÿ20of being drafted and the daily grind of their poverty. Racial and class prejudice limit their employment opportunities to field labor, and they pick melons, oranges, or cotton, depending on the season. Soto skillfully reveals the truth about the brothers' lives through details: in a particularly wrenching scene, they try hitchhiking to Pismo Beachÿ20for their spring break. Stranded for several days along the road, they shiver together through the night, never reaching the ocean. Jesse is artistically gifted and shy around girls; his struggles to communicate with girls, to date, and to succeed both socially and academically in school transcend the specifics of race and class. But Soto's story of a particular Mexican American boy in Fresno, California, during the height of the Vietnam War is rich in the details of Jesse's life and culture--his friendships with other Mexican Americans, his involvement in Caesar Chavez's farm workers' movement, his struggles to find himself and a meaningful life in spite of the limits placed on him by poverty and prejudice. All in all, a highly readable novel. Merri Monks --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

There is no action or anything.
Allison
This is definitely one for your adolescent child to read, just a quick lesson in how not everyone has it so well, and also the value of a good education.
Keen & Zealous
My daughter had to read this book for a class.
Cornelia T Grant

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Chavez on July 29, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading Jesse was a good experience it helped me understand a little more on how my ethnicity group had to work to survive. It also helped me get my thoughts cleared about being a successful person. It not only showed what daily struggle Jesse faced but the lack of support from his mother. What I like about the book Jesse was how it showed Mexican children or teenagers working to make a living and to become something other than a field worker. There's nothing wrong with becoming a field it just should be for Mexicans. Mexicans should think about moving up.

What I didn't like about the book was that it really didn't go into detail for me. It need a little more action or adventure to it. It was just tell story after story or situation after situation. A little more action would have made it a great book and not just an ok book.

The reason I would recommend this book to other is because it came from a local and Hispanic writer. Gary Soto writes from out point of view what we go through what we suffer and what we have to detail. Its great to know that Gary Soto is a Hispanic provide. Recommending it only lets Hispanic know that have someone to be proud of.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I definitely enjoyed reading this book. I kept turning the pages of Jesse by Gary Soto. This book tells the story of a boy who drops out of high school during his senior year, and joins his brother at City College. The brothers meet new people, try to earn more money to add to the little they have, and get through the tough times of Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War. This book was very enjoyable to read because of the first person writing style and because Jesse, the main character, has a very different lifestyle than mine. The first person writing style helped me get a direct point of view from the main character. I also thought it was very different and fascinating to read about a different heritage (Mexican), and life, such as going to City College and having little money to live on. There were many aspects of this book that I enjoyed. As fine as this book is, there are some reasons why readers may not enjoy it. Some people may get restless with the slow-moving pace of the book. It was not a very suspenseful book. It is also a little repetitive. Some events happened more than once, such as Jesse thinking some event or item over and over again. Some readers may think the book is boring in the beginning, but if you keep reading, you will get to know the writing style and really enjoy the book. Overall, I strongly recommend Jesse by Gary Soto.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written and poignant story about 17 year old Jesse, a Mexican-American boy coming of age during the turmoil of the Vietnam War. I was inspired by Jesse's optimism and charmed by his innocence and simplicity. Despite his poverty and family difficulties, Jesse aspires to get an education and become an artist. By the end of this book, I felt that I knew Jesse and that he had become a friend.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read Jesse by Gary Soto. Even though I had felt that the story itself dragged on a bit, it was still a somewhat enjoyable read.

The story revolves around Jesse and his brother, Abel, in the late 1970s. In the beginning of the story, Jesse decides to drop out of high school and leave his life with his mother and alcoholic stepfather to go live with his older brother. He and Abel enroll themselves in a community college, where they try to balance working on a farm and their schoolwork. Abel studies Spanish and forestry, where Jesse mainly focuses on art. Their main goal was to stop living in poverty. They eventually move into a small, run-down apartment building that appears to be very filthy. Luckily, they only had to pay $110 for rent. Social security gives them both an additional $90 on account of their biological father's death, who had died from an industrial accident when they were young. With that extra $180, they are able to purchase food and clothes for themselves. They earned extra cash by working on farms during the weekends and by selling interesting things they have stumbled upon in alleyways to the local flea market. The story basically continues through Jesse's first semester at community college and gives the reader an insight of his thoughts and feelings. However, when an unexpected romance blooms between his brother and a next door neighbor, Jesse becomes extremely stressed out. To add to his stress, Abel decides to move out with his romantic interest. Now that Jesse is living alone, he must work twice as hard at balancing his work and school. Will he be able to manage it all? Or will it all get to be too much for him to handle?

Overall, I give this book 3 stars. It was good, but could have been better in my opinion.
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By Barbara Godoy on April 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is a great book. i love reading it. i bought it because it was cheap and also i needed it one of my class to read.
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By disgusted user on November 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son, 12, had to read this for school. He's an avid reader, but he didn't like this book. He found it depressing. Against that, it was a window into a world he otherwise wouldn't know exists.
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By Angel A on August 1, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Book came in right on time! Jesse is a nice little book to read! I can relate as I live in the books setting
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