Benito Runs

Benito Runs

5.0 3
by Justine Fontes

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Running away is the only option.Benito's father, Xavier, had been in Iraq for more than a year. When he returns, Benito's family life is not the same. Xavier suffers from PTSD—post-traumatic stress disorder—and yells constantly. He causes such a scene at a school function that Benny is embarrassed to go to back to Southside High. Benny can't handle seeing


Running away is the only option.Benito's father, Xavier, had been in Iraq for more than a year. When he returns, Benito's family life is not the same. Xavier suffers from PTSD—post-traumatic stress disorder—and yells constantly. He causes such a scene at a school function that Benny is embarrassed to go to back to Southside High. Benny can't handle seeing his dad so crazy, so he decides to run away. Will Benny find a new life? Or will he learn how to deal with his dad—through good times and bad?

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Each book in the high-interest/low-reading-level Surviving Southside series is narrated by a different student at Texas' racially diverse Southside High School. Here, Benito's dad comes home from the war in Iraq. The family has been looking forward to his return, but he now has PTSD and is prone to loud, embarrassing outbursts. Ultimately, Benito leaves the house on an ill-fated bus journey. Plan B, in which a drunken first sexual experience leads to an unplanned pregnancy, tells a familiar story but comes to an open-ended resolution. In Recruited, star quarterback Kadeem faces a moral dilemma: Accept the scholarships, academic string-pulling and cheerleaders' attention offered by Teller College's recruiting coach, or blow the whistle on Teller's illegal recruiting practices. Each book is straightforward, with action beginning immediately and every detail moving the story ahead. Resolutions come quickly (each volume hovers just around 100 pages) and are sometimes unsatisfyingly tidy. Occasionally, a relevant detail is left out—it is never explained, for instance, why NCAA recruiting rules forbid aggressive tactics—but overall, these are solid, simple stories. For reluctant readers and fans of the Bluford High series. (Fiction. 12-14)

Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
In this gritty realistic fiction, Benito is struggling to deal with the return of his father from Iraq. He thought he would be excited to have his father home again, but Benito cannot figure out who this person masquerading as his father is. This person does not play soccer with him in the yard. This person is angry, jittery, grouchy, and sometimes flat out mean. This person does not cook his famous enchiladas. This person freaks out at a school bowling fundraiser, shrieking about camel spiders in his bowling shoes. In this "Surviving Southside" series title, Benito learns that his father is suffering from PTSD—post traumatic stress disorder—but still doesn't understand why his father is the way he is. Fearful that his soccer squad night will be a repeat of the incident at the bowling alley, Benito decides the best thing to do is to run away. He pools his money and buys a bus ticket for Dallas, where Dustin, a soccer buddy, has recently moved. But on the way, the unexpected happens and leads to reconciliation with his family and a renewed effort to understand and deal with his Dad's issues. Written in the first person, Benito's story will ring true for many young readers today. Short chapters make this difficult issue easy to digest for struggling or reluctant readers—publishers put the book at a reading level 4/Lexile level 530. Reviewer: Kris Sauer

Product Details

Darby Creek Publishing
Publication date:
Surviving Southside Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.40(d)
HL530L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Justine Fontes was born in New York City. She grew up on Long Island and later graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in English Liternature from New York Univeristy. Justine found her first job in publishing while she was a Freshman. She worked at various publishing houses before becoming a freelance writer. At Little Golden Books, Justine met her future husband, Ron Fontes. They started writing together and have written over 500 children's books. Justine and Ron moved to Maine in 1988.

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Benito Runs 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Benito is a fun loving teenage that has the family unit that almost teen would want. However, the family is torn apart when his dad is called for duty to service his country. The family feels lost without the father but knows that he will come home one day. The family's dream comes true but only partially. Xavier, Benito's father, comes home suffering from PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder. Now the family that Benito once had has changed. With this sickness he father acts, speaks, and does everything differently. The smiles and laughs that were so dear to this family are gone. Benito is so affected by his father's disorder that he decides that leaving the situation is the best thing. Will he leave his family or will be a true survivor and stick in there? This was such a great and quick read. This is an issue that many teens deal with mainly because many of our service members coming home from a long difficult war. I am very please that the author chose this topic. The words and flow of this novel had the young adult in mind. I can see many shaking their heads in agreement to many situations that happen in this novel. A job well done.
lins71 More than 1 year ago
Buy it
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Benito loved to play soccer with his father because it gave him a sense of closeness, but after his father, Xavier, was deployed to Iraq he practiced with his friend, Dustin. Benito "Benny" was now the "man of the house," but he wasn't very strict with his younger sister, Armida. Things got done when they got done and it was no big deal. His Mom wanted him to write letters to his Dad and they often sent packages. Things weren't the same without him and Benny often worried that he would die in combat, but when they received notice he was coming home it was better than Christmas. Not. Soon his best friend Steve Jones would be telling him to quit stressing. Things would change and the holiday atmosphere changed the moment his Dad walked through the door. He was very distant and his smile was gone. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. The screams began the first night he was home, shattering the peace of the house. Benny and Armi heard their mother try to waken their father gently by talking to him and telling him "It's just a dream." Xavi was a man who had changed and brought fear and anger into a once joyful household when he began to rage and turned the house into "Platoon Rodriguez." No doubt the neighbors could hear the tumult through the walls. He had been a model father Benny enjoyed being around and wanted to emulate, but now he just wanted to get away from him. Benny began to sell tickets for the Bowling Night fund-raiser as a way to disassociate from his home life. His mother struggled to put food on the table while his father stayed home to talk army and run the platoon. There was little for Benny and Armi to do but steer clear of him. Bowling Night arrived and the entire Platoon Rodriguez, along with half of Southside High, crowded into the alley. His father quickly grew sullen and nervous, complaining about the expense of the "zapatos feos." A few dollars was nothing for bowling shoes, but the best show of the night was yet to come when his crazy father began to shout, "Camel spiders! They get in your boots at night. They get as big as your fist." Would Benny ever be able to live with the embarrassment of having a crazy for a father? Was running away the only way to escape this madness? This is a powerful, poignant story of Benny, a teenager who has difficulty coping with his father's PTSD. This short volume deals quite well with the stressful problems created when Xavier, a returning soldier affected with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, returns to his family. It is quite clear there is no parade held for this troubled man, nor anyone rushing to the aid of the children. Benny, a boy who dearly loved his father, like many teens, does not know where to turn when his father "disappears" when he relives the horror of his experiences in Iraq. I gained a better understanding of the problem, especially when Benny was teased and claims, "I wanted to be Benito, not Camel Spider." Quill says: This is a somewhat heartrending look PTSD and the effect it has on a family, but is one you should consider!