Friday, July 26, 2013

THE BARRIO KINGS by William Kowalski

A big thank you to the publisher for providing THE BARRIO KINGS for review.  I have long been a fan of Orca Publishers and their high interest/low level offerings.  When I heard about Rapid Reads from Raven Books (an imprint of Orca) for older YA students in alternative ed programs, I really wanted to check one out for a new program my school is offering this fall.  One of the publisher reps kindly sent two my way.

THE BARRIO KINGS features a young man named Rosario Gomez facing the next challenge in his life, that of breadwinner and father.  Once a member of the Barrio Kings gang, Rosario has turned his life around.  He is about to earn his GED and get a well-deserved promotion at the grocery store where he works.  It couldn't come at a better time since his girl friend is about to deliver their first child. 

Just when it seems that everything is perfect for Rosario, an old friend is released from prison and makes contact with Rosario.  His old friend suggests that the two of them along with the Kings should seek revenge for what happened to Rosario's brother.  Should he ignore the promise he made to his girl friend or rejoin his old gang and help lead the fight?

THE BARRIO KINGS is slightly over 100 pages, reads quickly, and contains just the right combination of action and drama to interest reluctant readers.  With characters living in the adult world, there is definitely more appeal for alternative ed/adult ed readers attempting to improve reading skills.  I look forward to reading another Rapid Read selection.

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