Friday, July 10, 2009

The Brothers Torres

I really liked the way that this book handled its mood--more like a stage play than a novel. It starts out playful and quirky, with little details giving you a hint of what's to come. Then, in "act three" the air thickens and there's nothing playful or funny anymore. V.L.

Brothers Torres
By Coert Voorhees

Growing up in small border town in New Mexico, Frankie Torres has always lived in the shadow of his older brother Steve. Steve is worshipped as a soccer hero by his fellow high school students and adored as a perfect son by his parents. Frankie is neither a sports superstar, nor an A student, nor a social favorite.

He is, however, a good friend and a dependable worker at his family's Mexican restaurant while his brother is constantly off at games and practices. What Frankie practices is blowing things up in the desert with his best friend and different ways to eventually, when he gets the courage, ask Rebecca Sanchez to the homecoming dance.

But now Steve is courting a tough crowd of cholos, staying out late and lying about it. Frankie loyally helps his brother keep their parents in the dark. He gets it that Steve is experimenting with the respect and masculine power that the local gangs command, but he is scared. When Frankie awkwardly gets into a confrontation over Rebecca with the wealthiest kid in town, Steve & his new friends step in to defend him.

At the turn of a page the story turns from humorous to dangerous. The violence escalates as both sides retaliate. Debts of loyalty accrue and the very air becomes flammable with the flaring testosterone. It may be up to little brother Frankie to be the hero and douse the big macho flames.

Reviewed by Vivian

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