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The Last Summer of the Death Warriors (edition 2012)

by Francisco X. Stork

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2902538,756 (4.06)17
Member:SusanJeanStevens
Title:The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
Authors:Francisco X. Stork
Info:Scholastic Paperbacks (2012), Edition: 1, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:YA
Rating:****
Tags:Cancer, loss of parents, family

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The Last Summer Of The Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork

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  activelearning | Jan 26, 2014 |
Pancho Sanchez and Daniel Quentin (a.k.a. D.Q.) are an unusual pair. Pancho is a 17-year-old teen with a difficult past. His mother died when he was just five, his father was recently killed in a terrible freak-accident, and his developmentally delayed sister died – or, according to Pancho, was murdered – just three months later. D.Q. has been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer that is nearly always terminal, and lives at St. Anthony’s, and orphanage for teenage boys, although his mother is alive, well, and desperate to have D.Q. back in her life. D.Q., on the other hand, wants nothing to do with his mother, and has agreed to spend his summer undergoing an experimental treatment according to her wishes in exchange for emancipation.

Their unlikely partnership begins when D.Q. requests that Pancho, who has just moved into St. Anthony’s, spend the summer working as his aide, to keep him company while he receives his treatments in Albuquerque. Pancho agrees, especially when his search into his sister’s death leads him to believe that the man who was with Rosa when she died is living there. While D.Q. is focusing on becoming a “death warrior” by living every moment of what life he has left, Pancho has resigned himself to effectively ending his by killing the man who killed his sister, with no hope of not getting caught. In the end, both boys are challenged and changed in their views of themselves and what they want for their futures.

Stork manages to work in a wide variety of issues and themes into his novel, some of them heavy-handed, and some of them running just under the surface. With death an ever present reality for both boys, issues of faith and future are a constant question, although formal religion is only faintly present. Stork deftly works in depictions of class, race, and economic disparity between the characters, and subtly references how much of an impact these factors have on how the characters see, experience, and are treated by the world around them. The fact that the character’s names are an allusion to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza remind you to focus on the journey that they take, and to look critically at how they create their own realities. This is a great book for adults and teenagers alike, and forces you to ask the question of what it means to really live. ( )
  meganelizabeth | Nov 19, 2013 |
I hate to say this, but I wasn’t nearly as charmed by this book as I was by Marcelo in the Real World. I did still enjoy it, however, so if you like Stork’s writing I’d recommend it. ( )
  maureene87 | Apr 4, 2013 |
Pancho has been dropped at an orphanage after losing his entire family, both parents have died and his older sister Rosa has recently been found dead. Although the official report says "natural causes", Pancho is convinced she has been murdered and wants to get revenge on the man he feels is responsible. At the orphanage, Pancho's life becomes linked to DQ, a long-time resident who is trying his best to survive brain cancer. DQ frequently waxes philosophical and convinces the director of the orphanage that Pancho needs to become his companion and accompany him to Albuquerque where he'll undergo a clinical trial, see his estranged mother, and be reunited with Marisol. The relationship between these two characters and the journey they take over the course of the book is compelling. While DQ remains enigmatic, Pancho grows and changes with the powerful and profound experiences he has during his time becoming a "death warrior", the philosophy of life manifesto DQ is constructing while coming to terms with his own mortality. ( )
  ewyatt | Mar 2, 2013 |
Pancho’s mother died when he was 5 years old. Not long ago, his father was killed in a freak accident at work, leaving Pancho to take care of his older sister, Rosa, who is mentally disabled. Now, Rosa is dead and all Pancho wants to do is avenge her death, even though the police think there is no foul play involved.

Pancho is sent to live at an orphanage, St. Anthony’s, until he turns 18 but he has already decided he’s not going to stay. He will find the man who caused his sister’s death, kill him, and end up in prison. If he doesn’t last long there, so be it: everyone else in his family is dead anyway.

As if all this death surrounding him isn’t enough, at St. Anthony’s he is assigned to help D.Q., who is dying of a rare cancer. D.Q.’s estranged mother wants him to take part in an experimental treatment in Albuquerque; he just wants to die in peace at St. Anthony’s. He makes a deal with Pancho: you help me deal with my mom, and I’ll help you do whatever it is you’re planning to do. Reluctantly, Pancho agrees.

Will Pancho carry out his plan to kill the man responsible for Rosa’s death, or will he learn something about life from a dying boy … who might have a thing or two to learn from Pancho as well?

This is a story about life and death, revenge and forgiveness, family and friendship, faith and love. ( )
  FionaCat | Jun 1, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545151333, Hardcover)

Two young men -- one dying of cancer, one planning a murder -- explore the true meanings of death and life in the tense and passionate new novel from the author of MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD.

When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short: If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assigned to help D.Q., whose brain cancer has slowed neither his spirit nor his mouth. D.Q. tells Pancho all about his "Death Warrior's Manifesto," which will help him to live out his last days fully--ideally, he says, with the love of the beautiful Marisol. As Pancho tracks down his sister's murderer, he finds himself falling under the influence of D.Q. and Marisol, who is everything D.Q. said she would be;

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:55 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Seventeen-year-old Pancho is bent on avenging the senseless death of his sister, but after he meets D.Q, who is dying of cancer, and Marisol, one of D.Q.'s caregivers, both boys find their lives changed by their interactions.

(summary from another edition)

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