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The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones Paperback – March 27, 2016
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From School Library Journal
"Dominic Carrillo's The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones is a fun young adult novel with believable characters and a well-drawn romance, all of which is highlighted by Paco's engaging narrative voice. While the general plot at times feels unoriginal and predictable -- from the Cyrano trope to the idea of an outcast transfer student -- the characters are truly relatable, which is more than enough to keep the reader's attention."
"This is a book for anyone who's felt like they're on the outside looking in. Paco has such an engaging voice that you'll want to befriend him while he's being tormented by his classmates; the reader is propelled to keep turning the pages to see if things turn out all right for Paco in the end. Ultimately, the book is uplifting and hopeful, with heart-wrenching moments along the way, which make Paco's rise all the more affecting."
2017 San Diego Book Award Winner- YA Fiction
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 27, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 188 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1519491190
- ISBN-13 : 978-1519491190
- Reading age : 13 - 17 years
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 6.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.43 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #743,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This tale deals with many issues that young adult readers face. Paco faces racial discrimination, economic insecurity, first love issues and parental child responsibilities. He winds his way through a myriad of difficulties, only to find out that there is not always a simple solution or a rosy ending. Characters are well- developed multicultural, and multidimensional; readers empathize with Paco, find a strong female role model in Naomi, and discover the strengths and flaws in others like Trent and Mr. Holiday. As a bonus, the author/teacher provides discussion questions that align with the US common core standards. This book also provides a flashback for adult readers who may have forgotten those turbulent junior high days. Recommended for readers age twelve and older.
Just because hormones and social status drive adolescent behavior, don’t think for a minute that there’s nothing else going on behind those blank stares. The author does a brilliant job of showing the reader the chasm between most adults’ understanding of adolescents and the reality of their vast ignorance about them. Paco makes keen observations of the adults in his world and understands what motivates them, which makes this an invaluable read for anyone who lives or works with kids.
There is an array of social and human issues that are touched on in this novel, but one I truly appreciated was how economic disparity affects children socially. The author lays bare the social nuances that must be endured by kids of perceived lesser means or social status. I also appreciated a biracial protagonist, which is a rarity. There are few books that address the highly specific issues of kids walking the tightrope between two races. He doesn’t do it in a finger-wagging way, but rather in an, I’m just going to leave this right here way.
If you’re a student, this is a book that you can relate to and is also a fun read. If you’re a parent, this book gives you a fascinating glimpse into your child’s mind that you didn’t realize you needed. And, if you’re a teacher, I advise wrangling a few classroom sets of The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones out of next year’s department budget.
Again, this is just my opinion.