Author: Jacob Z. Flores
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 258 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Truman L. Cobbler has not had an easy life. It’s bad enough people say he looks like Donkey from Shrek, but he’s also suffered the death of his policeman father and his mother’s remarriage to a professional swindler, who cost them everything. Now dirt poor, they live in the barrio of San Antonio, Texas. When Tru transfers to an inner-city high school halfway through his senior year, he meets Javi Castillo, a popular and hot high school jock. Javi takes an immediate liking to Tru, and the two become friends. The odd pairing, however, rocks the school and sets the cliquish social circles askew. No one knows how to act or what to think when Mr. Popular takes a stand for Mr. Donkey. Will the cliques rise up to maintain status quo and lead Tru and Javi to heartbreak and disaster or will being true to who they are rule the day?
Review: I’ve read several books by this author and enjoyed all of them very much. This was no exception. I usually shy away from YA because I find myself not relating to the characters, or I just don’t want to deal with teenage angst. After reading the blurb for this book, my interest was piqued enough to give it a whirl. I’m so happy I did.
I can’t even imagine going through high school being the odd man out, having no friends, and accepting it as the way it is. But that is exactly what the main character, Tru, is experiencing. My heart went out to this young man. He was just too sweet not to like. He wasn’t even bitter or angry at the world. It was kind of sad. He’s the type of character I just wanted to hug and protect from all the bad in the world.
Then we meet Javier, aka Javi. He’s popular, athletic, and has a ton of friends. He’s the kid in school everyone likes. But he also likes Tru. They say that opposites attract, and that is so true in this story—Tru, being the geeky, quiet type, versus Javi, the dark handsome, fit athlete. Through their budding friendship come stronger feelings and the two are inseparable.
Ultimately, this was a love story. With it we get accepting who you are, being true to yourself, and not caring what other people think. I loved how the author didn’t go the “I don’t want anyone to know about us” route. It could’ve easily gone that way. I’m happy to read about high school kids really stepping up and showing what they’re all about. It was refreshing to read.
Along with the positive, we do see the negativity, too. Not everyone is happy about these two being together. We get to see the ugly and ignorant side of it, which I was fine with. In the real world it would’ve happened, so why not here? However, on a side note, I wasn’t too thrilled with how it ended. I’m not going to give anything away, but in my opinion it was too easy. Not that it was horrible, it was just a little cliché. I would’ve been okay with a happy for now ending.
Overall, this is a great story. I would recommend that everyone reading this right now go get this story. You won’t be disappointed.
You can buy Being There here: