Saturday, April 17, 2010
THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by Francisco X. Stork
After reading MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD for the Cybils, I was really interested when given the chance to review THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS. As much as I liked MARCELO, I absolutely loved DEATH WARRIORS.
It's the story of an unlikely friendship. When Pancho's father dies, he is left to take care of himself and his sister. Rosa works at a nearby restaurant, but her simple mind requires that someone look out for her. Pancho does his best, but she meets a man at the diner and one night she is found murdered. Now Pancho is out for revenge.
When the social service people discover that Pancho is alone, they hustle him off to an orphanage where he meets D.Q. D.Q. is in a wheelchair due to weakness caused by a rare form of cancer. For some reason D.Q. attaches himself to Pancho. He arranges for Pancho to be his aide. Pancho finds himself going everywhere with D.Q., seeing to his needs, and listening as the kid babbles on about something he is writing called the Death Warriors Manifesto.
Revenge for his sister death fills Pancho's thoughts, but the constant presence of D.Q. put any plans he has on hold. Almost before he knows what's happening, Pancho is accompanying the cancer patient to the hospital for a special round of experimental chemo-therapy. He has agreed to stay with D.Q. through the treatment and recovery and their friendship grows.
Author Francisco Stork takes readers into the lives of two young people struggling with problems bigger than most adults deal with. Stork's crisp, clear writing transported me directly into their lives. Seeing their bravery in the face of difficult circumstances made their story a riveting and inspiring read experience. THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS is not afraid to deal with some major life issues such as abandonment, the different meanings of love, quality of life decisions, and facing death.