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Seeing Off the Johns

School Library Journal

In Greenton, TX, everything revolves around the Johns, the two star baseball and football players in the local high school. Everyone in town even wakes up before dawn to come out and send them off to college and wish them luck. When a tragic accident occurs, resulting in their untimely deaths, everything changes, especially for 16-year-old Chon Gonzales. Chon is a somewhat average teen working a dead-end job in a gas station and occasionally hooking up with an older female coworker. He’s looking to get out of his small town and win over Araceli, the girl of his dreams who used to date one of the Johns. Chon struggles with his desire to pursue a relationship with Araceli as well as the feeling that he is possibly taking advantage of a bad situation for his personal benefit. Perez captures the spirit of small-town USA and the high school football culture that often dominates. The protagonist and his friends all have authentic teen voices, and the author never shies away from colorful profanity and somewhat explicit sex talk. Perez briefly follows up with some of the members of the town throughout the story to show how the loss of the Johns affects them in ways big and small. The last chapter jumps forward in time to see how Chon and his relationships with his friends and lovers are resolved. This authentic story of loss is powerful and one that many readers will not forget. VERDICT A well-told story of life in a small town that will resonate with older teen readers. –Christopher Lassen, BookOps: The New York Public Library and Brooklyn
- School Library Journal, November 1, 2015  Visit Website

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