With roots on the U.S./Mexico border, Cinco Puntos publishes great books which make a difference in the way you see the world.
childrens books
young adult books
poetry books
fiction books
non-fiction books
graphic novels
first concepts
featured titles

about us
customer service

Teacher's Resources
View & Print our Bilingual Catalog
View & Print our YA Catalog

<< Back to Seeing Off the Johns

Seeing Off the Johns

Lone Star Literary Life

Tiny, fictional Greenton, set in South Texas, “a one-stoplight town built on cattle and railroads and killed by bypasses and super-ranches,” doesn’t have much going for it. What Greenton does have are “two crown princes,” John Robison and John Mejias, high school baseball stars signed to play college ball for the University of Texas at Austin. The Johns graduated from high school twenty-four hours ago and now they’re dead, killed in a rollover accident on their way to Austin, shortly after a ceremonious departure complete with police escort to the city limits and banners strung across Main Street. Greenton is stunned, especially beautiful Araceli Monsevais, “Goddess of Greenton,” long-time girlfriend of Mejia. Concepcion “Chon” Gonzales has been in love with Araceli for as long as he can remember. Will the town let Araceli move on?

Seeing Off the Johns, a tough and touching coming of age novel by Rene S. Perez II, is an intuitive and rather sophisticated exploration of grief and loss and coping mechanisms, both individually and collectively, told in the language of small-town teenagers, through the lens of Araceli and Chon. We follow the progress, and lack thereof, made by Chon and Araceli and the entire town of Greenton over the next school year as they all attempt to assimilate the worst tragedy the town has ever experienced.

The parents of both Johns regret condoning “the hero-worship of two young men who were not yet done being boys.” The baseball coach fears that “the rest of his career would be defined in contrast to the four years he had with the Johns.” Teenagers sneak into the cemetery for a “late night fix of what-might-have-been.” Araceli struggles with survivor’s guilt and Chon worries that approaching Araceli in the aftermath of this tragedy makes him a “predator … an opportunist.”

Perez is multitalented. He writes funny when “Henry couldn’t write a paragraph or even conjugate most irregular verbs in Spanish but in decrying a puto, he was Neruda.” He writes teenage angst when Chon longs for “the doom-jazz mood of a rainy night”. And he can turn a phrase, riffing on Greenton’s high school, “a WPA-era building erected to look like a fallout shelter and a factory for the crop-cut future GIs who would come up in the last pure, pre-rock ’n’ roll of American youth.”

Seeing Off the Johns is briskly and evenly paced. The deceptively simple plot allows the young people to take center stage and everyone who grew up in a small Texas town will recognize these personalities. They are allowed to stretch, to contract, and to mature, and it’s a pleasure to be along for the ride as Chon finds out how brave his heart really is.

- Michelle Newby, November 3, 2015  Visit Website

books for kids | young adults | poetry | non-fiction | fiction | on sale | featured titles
submissions | about us | customer service | contact us | bilingual books
search | privacy statement | ©2001 - 2018 Cinco Puntos Press
Designed by
Stanton Street 

Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution.