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Prizefighter en Mi Casa by e.E.…
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Prizefighter en Mi Casa

by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo

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Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

PRIZEFIGHTER EN MI CASA is a heartfelt and often heart-wrenching novel about a Mexican-American girl growing up in Texas. Ever since the car accident that left her father paralyzed and unable to work, 12-year-old Chula Sanchez has suffered seizures that make her an even bigger target for teasing in her junior high school than her Mexican heritage did. She has few friends, and her relationship with her parents and older brother has suffered as well. Then her father comes up with a plan to make money for the family: bring a famous and feared prizefighter from Mexico into the town for an illegal boxing match.

The novel's main strength is its characters. Chula, who narrates the story, has a believable, distinctive voice. She doesn't hold back as she shares her sharp and sometimes bitter observations of her family and community. No super-girl, she doesn't always make the best decisions in dealing with her problems, but they are always decisions that make sense. The minor characters are also well-developed and distinctive, from the hulking shadow of "El Jefe" which conceals more humanity than Chula guesses, to her brother, Richie, who alternates between brotherly rivalry and brotherly love.

PRIZEFIGHTER EN MI CASA also stands out for its setting and tone. It authentically captures the cultural flavor of a southern town. The use of Spanish in the dialogue and narration, the slang terms and descriptions of food and religion, all serve to immerse the reader in a world that may seem foreign to many of them.

The book builds on its characters and the many conflicts between them over its two-hundred pages, but toward the end, sadly, it falters. Many of the conflicts are hastily tied up in the last few pages with little explanation; some are left completely uncertain or unresolved. Readers may find that the many loose ends make for an unsatisfying conclusion.

Despite the problems with the ending, this is still a novel well worth reading, both for the glimpse it offers of an under-represented group in teen literature and for the honesty and vividness of its storytelling. Pre-teen and younger teen readers will find much to enjoy and think about. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385733259, Hardcover)

Twelve-year-old Chula Sanchez isn’t thin, isn’t beautiful, and because she’s Mexican, isn’t popular in her south Texas town. And now that a car accident has left her father paralyzed and her plagued with seizures, she is poor. But Chula’s father is determined to pull his family out of debt. He sends for El Jefe—the most revered prizefighter in Mexico. Chula’s father hopes that with steel-pipe arms and fists like pit bulls, El Jefe will win the local illegal boxing matches and bring home much-needed money. But El Jefe—a man who many see as a monster—only brings confusion to a home that is already filled with problems. And now Chula must decide for herself whether good and bad can reside in one person and whether you can have strength in your heart when your fists have none.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Following a car accident that left her with epilepsy, twelve-year-old Chula--with a little help from a visiting fearsome Mexican boxer--tries to deal with the repercussions her new condition has on her family, neighborhood, and school.

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