Truman L. Cobbler has not had an easy life. It’s bad enough people say he looks like Donkey from Shrek, but he’s also suffered the death of his policeman father and his mother’s remarriage to a professional swindler, who cost them everything. Now dirt poor, they live in the barrio of San Antonio, Texas. When Tru transfers to an inner-city high school halfway through his senior year, he meets Javi Castillo, a popular and hot high school jock. Javi takes an immediate liking to Tru, and the two become friends. The odd pairing, however, rocks the school and sets the cliquish social circles askew. No one knows how to act or what to think when Mr. Popular takes a stand for Mr. Donkey. Will the cliques rise up to maintain status quo and lead Tru and Javi to heartbreak and disaster or will being true to who they are rule the day?
Truman is 17, in his last year of high school, and this is his 6th school in as many years. Due to his small stature he is the object of bullying and his poor single mother can do nothing more than move them to help the situation.
Javi is the star of the baseball team and a genuinely nice, great guy, part of a loving family.
After Tru gets beat up again (on the first day by Javi’s best friend), Javi rescues him and takes him home to his family where he is immediately embraced into the fold.
After that day Javi and Tru become best friends. Javi protects him as well as really enjoys his company, more than the other kids think he should.
When push comes to shove, Javi has to face the fact that he has feelings for Tru (admittedly gay, but not out officially). After facing the truth he has to decide what to do with the information but before he can decide things have heated up at school to the point where it may already be too late.
OMG! I loved this story. I’m not a huge YA fan, but I really love Jacob Flores and Mark Westfield so I decided to give this a try. Boy am I glad!
First, since this is their last year in HS most of what the boys are dealing with is adult enough not to feel awkward when it comes to relationship stuff.
Second, Jacob Flores is an excellent writer and he does an excellent job of creating two believable characters in situations that feel authentic. Javi is (perhaps) a bit too good to be true, but every story needs a hero and he is an absolutely wonderful one.
There are plenty of “bad guys” in this story, including most of Javi’s “friends” from the baseball team.
Tru is another wonderful character who just keeps trying and trying. He never gives up and I really liked that he didn’t perseverate on the future or have dire thoughts of suicide. He truly lived in the now and simply focused on doing the best with what he was given in that moment.
Claudia, the BFF, is another fantastic character – serving to give some attitude to the couple who are so sappily sweet.
I also loved that most of the characters in this story were non-caucasian but that race really wasn’t made much of an issue – if any.
It was a super sweet and lovely story and I highly recommend it.
Mark Westfield (who I really admired in the THIRDS books) disappointed me with this. He does a nice enough job and is easy to listen to, he gives Javi’s folks a bit of an accent, but I think that someone like Gomez Pugh would have rocked this as most of the characters in this were Hispanic and I think more accents would have made this sound more like I had it scripted in my head.
That being said, it was a nice (if not amazing) way to listen to this book and did not detract.
5 of 5 hearts