Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Efrain's Secret by Sofia Quintero

Efrain's Secret by Sofia Quintero
263 pages

Efrain is a high school senior with dreams of going to an Ivy League school, preferably Harvard. But, like most kids in the Bronx, money is always an issue. How is he supposed to pay $30,000 a year tuition, if he is scraping by getting the money together for tutoring and prep classes to retake his SAT? All around him is either poverty, or riches beyond belief from drug sales. He takes up with his old friends and starts selling drugs to cover expenses...and that goes about as well as you would imagine. The neighborhood is explained in such a way that truly draws you in...you feel like you are propped up on a crumbling street corner, watching the neighborhood gangs battle for territory, but I felt the side characters really lacked the strength that could have made this a more rounded story. But I did like it...I actually thought about Efrain long after I finished the book, wondering where he might be if he were a real character.

(from back of book)
Being brown and broke has been a seventeen-year test in just how badly I want an average life.  life where doing the right thing is punished with the luxury of having to choose between the things I need and those I want. Why does the valedictorian have to choose between the class ring and an SAT prep class? Why does a clean-cut teenager have to decide between showing up to a minimum-wage job and going to the movies with the most popular girl in school? Why do I have to fight so hard just for the mere chance to have it all?

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