Have you heard of the young adult novel Mexican Whiteboy? Katrina and I have been running into this title everywhere we look. Neither of us have had a chance to read it yet, but we’re both intrigued.
From the website of its author, Matt de la Peña, we learn that it’s a young adult novel about a young man grappling with what it means to be “half-Mexican brown.” From Peña’s website, we get the following sketch of our protagonist:
Danny’s tall and skinny.
Even though he’s not built, his arms are long enough to give his pitch a power so fierce any college scout would sign him on the spot. A 95 mph fastball, but the boy’s not even on a team. Every time he gets up on the mound he loses it.
But at private school, they don’t expect much else from him. Danny’s brown. Half-Mexican brown. And growing up in San Diego that close to the border means everyone else knows exactly who he is before he even opens his mouth. Before they find out he can’t speak Spanish, and before they realize his mom has blonde hair and blue eyes, they’ve got him pegged.
Danny’s convinced it’s his whiteness that sent his father back to Mexico. And that’s why he’s spending the summer with his dad’s family. Only, to find himself, he might just have to face the demons he refuses to see right in front oh his face. And open up to a friendship he never saw coming.
Just about every big reviewer has pegged this book as a real and engrossing account of a young man’s coming to terms with himself, his heritage, and the expectations of those around him. School Library Journal called it “a first-rate exploration of self-identity” while the New York Times reviewed it as “the uplifting – but never corny, sentimental, or sappy – story of a young man.” You can read more about the book by visiting Peña’s website or checking out other reviews on Goodreads.
It sounds like a worthwhile novel. Have any of you read it or heard about it? Do you agree with the reviews?