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SAMMY AND JULIANA IN HOLLYWOOD

by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
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TAYSHAS High School Reading List, 2005-2006
Pennsylvania School Librarians Association YA Top Forty
NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature, Finalist
Finalist, L.A. Times Book Prize
Capital Choices List Noteworthy Books, 2005
Bulletin Blue Ribbons List, 2004
Americas Award, 2004
ALA 2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound
Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, 2005, Young Adult Library Services Association

Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood is our American Graffiti. No, that’s not right. It’s our Mexican Graffiti.”
—Denise Chavez

Product Details

10-digit ISBN1-933693-99-1
13-digit ISBN9781933693996
FormatPaperback
Page Count240
Product Dimensions6 x 9 x 1
Publication DateMarch 10, 2011
Starred Review5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars - see reviews
RightsAll Rights Available
A classic Latino YA novel. It’s 1969, America is at war, “Hollywood” is a dirt-poor Chicano barrio in small-town America, and Sammy and Juliana face a world of racism, war in Vietnam and barrio violence. A YALSA Top-10 Best Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award for Young Adults.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz—novelist, poet, and writer of children’s books—was named one of the “Fifty of the Most Inspiring Authors in the World” by Poets & Writers Magazine. He’s at the forefront of emerging Latino writers in Young Adult Literature. Sáenz lives in El Paso.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Sammy’s first-person narration, observant and self-aware, affords a window into a world of quiet despair and stubborn hope, set appropriately against the backdrops of late-1960s social ferment ... His message is one of victory through endurance rather than escape.
- September 1, 2004 
full review >>
Booklist
The tough but caring family, neighbors, and friends speak in authentic dialogue liberally laced with Spanish that adds texture to the story, and an empathetic teacher and a stand against the school dress code provide a small victory to help Sammy weather the racism and poverty that fuel his emotions and his losses.
full review >>
Horn Book
Written in a poetic first-person voice that incorporates some Spanish into the narrative, Sammy’s story of love, loss, and strong family ties is hard to forget.
full review >>
School Library Journal
Saenz provides the Mexican-American teen with a voice that is genuine and compelling, realistic in its limitations and nuances as he comes to grips with the death of Juliana, his first love, and the increasingly complex demands and needs of his remaining friends, as well as of his family and neighbors ... This is a powerful and authentic look at a community's aspirations and the tragic losses that result from shattered dreams.
full review >>
San Antonio Current
Sáenz’ has an ear for dialogue—not just the idiosyncratic phrases and expressions that characterize the residents of Hollywood, but also the way that Sammy narrates his tale, in a poetic, lyrical manner that begs to be read out loud and shared with others, placed in the hands of anyone who’s ever struggled with the confusion, loss, and contradictions that come with saying goodbye.
full review >>
San Antonio Express-News
You will find no superfluous writing here, only the raw talk of a young Chicano struggling with ethical, religious and emotional challenges. The imagery is so vivid, you’ll find yourself searching your mind for your own memory, a similar situation in a similar space and time.
full review >>
Miami Herald
The gritty details about drugs, sex, domestic violence, the liberal doses of Spanglish, even the profanity, make this story feel like an authentic portrayal of what it meant to be poor and Chicano in America in the 1960s.
full review >>
Children's Literature
This is a moving and convincing description of the confusions of the sixties, combined with the difficulties of growing up Mexican-American and poor... The love story, though over rather early in the book, is very sweet.
full review >>
KLIATT
Set in the 1960s, the novel explores how the counterculture affected youth from a disenfranchised but still conservative background. The prose and plot have tremendous grace and emotional impact. YAs of today can relate. Excellent for cultural studies. Recommended for senior high school students.
full review >>
Letters from Students
“I just finished reading your book and I have to tell you the truth. Your book is the best one I have ever read. When you’re reading it makes you feel like if you were there living it. It’s very realistic. I like how it has to do with love, being responsible, and getting mature. If they would make it a movie, it would be great.”—Erika De Santiago

“The most important thing I liked about it was that even though Juliana was dead, you still mention her throughout the book. I enjoy that. It was important to not just forget her. Gigi was my favorite character. She was great: a very strong girl; fearless of things. Her character just made me want to act it out: so intense, so real. I was feeling her.”—Jennifer Garcia

“In conclusion, so far this has been one of the best book I’ve ever read. I would like for more authors to write books like this. When I was reading the book I couldn’t let it go, I just wanted to keep reading it. Even though the end was really sad because almost everyone died, and Sammy had to take care of Elena and Mrs. Apodaca’s daughter. Even my teacher cried at the end.”—Daniela Muniz
El Paso Times
Sáenz captures a life that, despite its specific era, seems timeless and relevant to the current age. He engages a range of contemporary issues like addiction, bigotry and sexuality, and his prose never flinches, even when the reader must. Honest and heartfelt, this is an extraordinary book.
full review >>
Albuquerque Journal
Sammy just isn't on the cusp of manhood, he's on the edge of an often violent and frustrating world that demands difficult choices and sacrifice. And Sáenz's lyrical prose provides the soundtrack to that tumultuous life born of a small town barrio.
full review >>
Michigan Reading Journal
Please do yourself and your students a favor and search for this beautiful work of art ... Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood deserves top billing in our school libraries. Find it! Buy it!
full review >>
El Paso Inside & Out Magazine
Like a ballerina whose graceful dancing effortlessly belies her athleticism, Saenz writes as if he is merely documenting the lives of a small segment of America, lifting the cover for us to peer down on the struggles of this group of young adults as they play out before us.
full review >>
Paper Tigers
... The ultimate message is how hope and memory combine to free even the most tormented soul. Readers who speak Spanish will enjoy the juxtaposition of two languages throughout the novel.
full review >>
AudioFile
Gritty as the unforgiving New Mexican desert, Sammy's story makes compelling listening for older teens. This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
full review >>
Click here to view all the reviews

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