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Muchacho: A Novel Hardcover – September 8, 2009

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1250L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Missouri Gateway Readers 2012
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375861173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375861178
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,633,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—High school junior Eddie Corazon and his Mexican-American family live in a crime-infested town in New Mexico where kids are often pressed into service as drug runners if found on the streets alone. Eddie has his older cousin to look out for him, and he tells of the day when he was eight, and felt so proud to ride along with Enrique, drinking beer and smoking. But when Enrique stopped the car, knocked on a door, and shot the man who opened it in the face, young Eddie messed his pants, "smelling the stink of hopelessness that hung around my life." Eddie is now in an alternative high school and brandishing his role as juvenile delinquent until he meets Lupe, a bright girl with dreams of college. Keeping her as his girlfriend is the impetus for change, but poignant memoirs of a caring former teacher and the book The Four Agreements play a major role in Eddie's transformation into a reflective honor student. In the end, the future appears hopeful for the teen, though his change is a bit too didactic as he writes, "you can open a book and follow the words to some new place." Sometimes the first-person narrative is disjointed, and the story and characters don't always ring true. While the content may appeal to reluctant readers, the nonlinear story line will be a challenge. Also, the heavy-handed message could be a turnoff, and the numerous allusions to contemporary literature, while interesting, will be lost on most struggling teen readers.—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA END


Review: MUCHACHO is a gem - and one that would be recommended for not only teens, but also for adults - particularly in education. Because for educators, the messages in the novel are priceless.

Customer Reviews

Highly recommended for even reluctant readers.
The poetry is a lovely addition to the story and I especially enjoyed the poem entitled "Lupe Full of Grace" .
Amazon Customer
It is full of true to life experiences that my students can relate to and learn from.
D Davis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on November 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Eddie Corazon is a character who you won't soon forget.

He lives in a world where being a bad boy is the cool thing to do. He hangs out with his cousins in a bad neighborhood, and the boys are just on the edge of being juvenile delinquents. He skips school and gets poor grades as a matter of choice, but he is a secret reader, and poet. He has promised his Mami that he won't drop out of school, but he's pretty sure he will fail.

Then he meets Lupe, and his world changes. She brings out the best in Eddie, and sees things in him that he doesn't. Her father is none too happy about their relationship; he wants more for his smart, energetic daughter. Eddie doesn't seem to have a very bright future the way he is going, but then he begins to think like Lupe. Maybe he could make the future work for him, too.

It's hard to make changes in his behavior with his cousins and friends encouraging him to follow their lead...but Eddie really wants to be able to hang out with the beautiful, smart Lupe.

Eddie's transition is a very moving story with complex characters in a tough world. It shows that positive changes can be made through hard work and perseverance, and that the bad choices are tempting, but conquerable. The story is narrated by Eddie with straight-forward language and a viewpoint all his own, by turns funny and serious. Eddie is a boy who girls will fall in love with, and a guy boys will be able to relate to.

Highly recommended for even reluctant readers.

Reviewed by: Grandma Bev
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Chappel on September 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Eddie Corazon, the narrator of this book, is one of the most likable and memorable characters I have encountered in a long time and I read a lot of YA books as a school librarian. I see "secret readers" like Eddie skulking around the library, trying to hike their books and their intelligence from their peers. His voice is authentic, his humor is funny, and his attempts to figure out where he fits in the universe really touch the heart. Eddie is surprised to discover that he is a poet. I'm not. From the first word, I knew this kid had the heart and soul of a poet.

I have met the author at various educational conferences and it's clear that her top priority is improving our public schools and helping teachers connect with kids like Eddie. I think teachers will love this book and their students will, too. Aside from being a compelling story, this book makes literary writing appealing to the everyday reader. The references to other books that young readers might enjoy, as well as the thought-provoking comments on topics such as immigration, English-language acquisition, Just Say No to Drugs, love and sex and marriage, and developing self-esteem and confidence will provide ample material for class discussions and related projects.

This book earns an A+ and front row display in my library!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donna F. Mannon on October 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was so captivated by Muchacho that I read it straight through. Eddie is not just a well develoved character in a book. He is a living, breathing guy who tells us what's on his mind with honesty and humor. I was cheering him on throughout all of his hopes and temptations. Eddie charmed me completely! Muchacho is a must read. For that reason I bought two extra copies to donate to the local high school and public libraries in T or C. Thank goodness for the Miss Beechers and Miss Johnsons of the world!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Melanie on September 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Eddie Corazon sees no hope, no future. A juvenile delinquent living in a bad neighborhood, he's a junior only because he promised his mami he wouldn't drop out. He'll probably end up failing, anyway. But then things begin to change. First comes Mrs. Beecher who, before she was fired, showed him that there just might be a better way. Then comes Lupe. The most beautiful girl Eddie has ever seen and also the smartest. She has plans for her life and, slowly, Eddie begins to see that he too can have plans and make them realities.

Eddie was a very complex character. It was great to see how his mind worked. To live in a world where saying no can get you killed, going through everyday with a façade so people won't see who you really are, takes a lot more then I've got. The thing I liked most about Eddie was his honesty. He talked about things the way he saw them. Yes, it did, at times, include cussing and sexual references, but those moments helped flesh out who Eddie really was and showed his outlook on life.

Eddie and Lupe's relationship was interesting to watch throughout the book. At first, I thought it was just a case of average teenage lust, but as the book went along, it was clear to see that it was more than that. It was love. They really do care for each other. Will they stay together forever? Probably not. They are, after all, just a couple of high school kids trying to figure out their lives. Lupe makes Eddie think. She makes him question things that he just assumed. He, in turn, provides her someone she can talk to, openly.
Overall, Muchacho was a pretty good book. It didn't leap off the page for me, but it was a satisfying read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Bardsley on January 27, 2015
Format: Paperback
Muchacho by Louanne Johnson tells the story of self-proclaimed juvenile delinquent Eddie, who decides to change his ways after falling for Lupe, a college-bound beauty. This book takes place in New Mexico and is heavily laced with Spanish, slang, swear words and grit. It's not your typical YA book, but could easily appear on a college reading list for a class on Chicano Literature--even though to my knowledge the author is white.

Johnson is also the author of the memoir My Posse Don't Do Homework which was portrayed on screen as the movie "Dangerous Minds" with Michelle Pfeiffer. That book takes places in Northern California, whereas the movie version centers on Los Angeles.

This is a big deal to me personally, because I taught third grade in the Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto--former murder capitol of America--which was the district that fed into the high school classrooms that Johnson based My Posse Don't Do Homework on. I still don't understand how Hollywood thinks Los Angeles is "scarier" than East Palo Alto. I had eight year olds drawing pictures of hiding from gangsters with guns.

In Muchacho, Johnson makes fun of white Stanford students (like me) who come to districts like Ravenswood. Although to be fair, it's hard to tell if Johnson is making fun Stanford teachers or Eddie is. The Mr. McElroy character starts out a bit rough but ends up becoming a pretty good teacher (in my opinion at least).

Muchacho is not your typical YA book, but I enjoyed it a lot. It is a quick read, probably an under 50k word count, an is something that teenage boys would like too.
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More About the Author

Biography LouAnne Johnson

LouAnne Johnson is a former U.S. Navy journalist, Marine Corps officer, high school teacher, and the author of The New York Times bestseller Dangerous Minds. A native of rural northwestern Pennsylvania, LouAnne served nine years on active military duty first as an enlisted journalist in the Navy and later as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps where she earned awards for her work as a journalist and radio-tv broadcaster. 

While on active duty, LouAnne earned a B.S. in Psychology. Following her honorable discharge, she attended graduate school to earn a Master of Arts in teaching English. In 1989, LouAnne began teaching reading and writing to non-English speakers as an intern at a high school in California. Two years later, she was appointed department chair of a special program for at-risk teens. During the government evaluation of 10 similar pilot programs, LouAnne's group was rated first in academic achievement, increased self-esteem, and student retention.

In 1992, she wrote a memoir My Posse Don't Do Homework, about her experiences working with at-risk teens. The book was published in eight languages and was adapted for the 1995 box office hit "Dangerous Minds" starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

Since then LouAnne has continued to teach. She has taught high school English, adult ESL and Developmental Reading and is presently a full-time professor of teacher education at Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico.

LouAnne also continues to write. She is the author of seven nonfiction books, most recently Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students by Their Brains.

Muchacho, LouAnne's first novel, was published by Knopf in September 2009. The narrator of Muchacho, Eddie Corazon, is a 16-year-old juvenile delinquent and "secret reader" who attends an alternative high school in New Mexico.

LouAnne has presented keynote addresses to the National School Boards Association, the American School Counselors Association, the National Staff Development Council, and the European Council of International Schools, among others. She has appeared on several TV shows, including Oprah, CBS Eye to Eye, and NBC Weekend Today.

LouAnne maintains a website that has direct links to many of the topics she discusses during her presentations.

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