Gilb gives an authentic voice to the young Chicano teen narrator. I would liken this to that which Sherman Alexie did for Native American Teen boys in his book Absolutely Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Sonny is a likable, compassionate kid who lives in the Flowers Apartments with his mother and stepfather. He experiences the comings and goings of many of the residents as he does chores around the building of which he has many. He has his first sexual experiences and his first romance (not at all the same thing). He is witness to prejudice and other not so legal activities in the run down neighborhood. So many, many of the books for Chicano kids revolve around gang activity this is a refreshing book filled with colorful imperfect characters worth getting to know.
I read this because folks were questioning its appropriateness for teen readers. I think its exactly right on. I'm happy to have it in the teen collection for teens to find. JDW 1/8/10