THE CLOSEST I'VE COME -- a heart-wrenching, funny, hopeful, and inspirational urban coming-of-age story
The Closest I've Come by Fred Aceves (2017, HarperTeen; 320 pages)
Author Fred Aceves has created in The Closest I've Come one of my favorite teen characters ever. Marcos Rivas is a young adult trying to make the best of a not very easy life. He shares with other teenagers the feeling of being trapped by societal rules and expectations, but he has it a little bit more difficult than most. Marcos' neighborhood is a tough one, a place where violence and drugs are commonplace. The neighborhood is called Maesta. Growing up there, boys learn not to talk about feelings, and there is a pressure to bury them constantly. This will become one of Marcos' struggles, especially when at home he's dealing with a stepdad who verbally and physically abuses him, and with an uncaring mother who does nothing about it. And while his buddies in the Maesta are cool, Marcos feels that he can't open up to them. The result is a feeling of disconnection. He feels lost and he falls behind in school.
But his world will turn around when he is offered an opportunity to join an after-school program for underperforming students. There he will meet Zach, a guy unafraid of emotions, and he meets and falls hard for Amy, a white girl with a very strong personality and a life that feels too similar to his.
The story of The Closest I've Come is raw, funny, and fabulously real. When Marcos ultimately learns that strength and bravery aren´t about acting tough and being macho, but about being true to yourself, I actually cheered aloud. The writing in the book is superb, and you can hear Marcos, Zach, Amy, and the other characters' voices loud and clear. The translation of the genuine Latino accents in the book is an absolute delight.
Fred Aceves first novel is a must-read. Recommended to fans of Walter Dean Myers and Matt De La Peña, and to readers who want to understand the lives of teens who can´t afford to buy a new pair of sneakers or a working cell phone, teens who yearn for love and acceptance while dealing with poverty and violence.
Find this title in our catalog: The Closest I've Come
Recommended by: Maite
Teen Reads Blog
To go to our Teen Reads blog, Bookshelf Envy, click here