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Body Slammed!
     

Body Slammed!

by Ray Villareal
 

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Sixteen-year-old Jesse Baron feels like he's living his life on the sidelines. He's on the varsity football team, but only because it's what his dad wants him to do. And the girl he used to go out with is dating the popular quarterback. Jesse is fed up with being cut down and dismissed, whether by the coach or his friends. If only he was bigger, tougher and more

Overview

Sixteen-year-old Jesse Baron feels like he's living his life on the sidelines. He's on the varsity football team, but only because it's what his dad wants him to do. And the girl he used to go out with is dating the popular quarterback. Jesse is fed up with being cut down and dismissed, whether by the coach or his friends. If only he was bigger, tougher and more athletic, like his dad. Those things didn't matter to Jesse's mom. She left his father, a professional wrestler, because of his demanding career. But it's through his dad that Jesse meets TJ Masters, a brash, new wrestling talent who's over 21, drives a fast car and is more than willing to show Jesse a good time. And unlike his dad, TJ makes Jesse feel tough and confident; he even offers to help Jesse bulk up. But will Jesse listen to his family and friends when they warn him about hanging out with someone who's often reckless and irresponsible? In this stand-alone sequel to his acclaimed debut novel My Father, the Angel of Death, Ray Villareal touches on serious themes such as drinking and driving, lying to loved ones and even steroid use. Author and educator Villareal once again writes a compelling novel for teens that explores the impact of making poor choices and choosing the right friends.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Florence Munat
Sixteen-year-old Jesse Baron has a lot to live up to. His father Mark played college football followed by a career on the popular American Championship Wrestling circuit using a persona called the Angel of Death. To please his father, Jesse joins his high school football team in San Antonio, but rarely plays in his backup center role. Mark's career means everything to him—and probably cost him his marriage. When Mark brings home TJ Masters, a young wrestler with the ACW, Jesse is flattered by TJ's attention and attracted to his risk-taking. Soon Jesse is hanging out with TJ instead of his school friends. When TJ lets Jesse drive his new car, the act seems harmless—but things escalate. Jesse skips football practice to go to a party with TJ, which leads to him lying to his grandparents about his whereabouts. TJ takes him to an adult party where alcohol is served, after which the two are nearly arrested. Then TJ asks Jesse to take a trip to Mexico with him where he plans to buy steroids, a trip that lands TJ in a hospital after thugs beat him up. When Jesse's parents learn what has been happening, they realize they have not been paying enough attention to their son, and Mark decides to quit wrestling. Wrestling fans will enjoy the plentiful information and descriptions of matches. The family is Hispanic, and occasional Spanish phrases occur in the text. The novel includes topics and themes regarding friendship, loyalty, risk-taking, and alcohol and steroid use. Jesse's love interest is an unusual and thoughtful girl named Wally. The novel's main message is, "Be yourself." Reviewer: Florence Munat
Children's Literature - Jill Walton
Jesse's dad was big and BAD. He was the Angel of Death in the professional wrestling ring. For now, he wanted his son to be a starring varsity football player just as he had been in his glory. But instead Jesse was racking up continuing humiliation on the field at that same high school in San Antonio. The Angel of Death wanted Jesse's success when he thought about it but he was on the road about 300 days out of the year. Otherwise, the paternal grandparents are the ones cheering Jesse on. Jesse's mother lives down a different road in Dallas, teaching school. She would like to have Jesse live with her and they have a good relationship, but after the divorce, Jesse decided to live with his dad and his grandparents. Jesse's mom, his dad and Jesse all have made choices. Jesse makes friends with a young professional wrestler who exposes him to a variety of life threatening choices which includes an illegal venture in old Mexico. The situations for Jesse are realistic and the author presents a fascinating examination into the world of professional wrestling, its structure and its fans. As a sequel, this book stands alone but what happens to Jesse next? He is so real and the culture of San Antonio is like no other city. Will he stay in San Antonio? Reviewer: Jill Walton
Kirkus Reviews
A San Antonio teenager hooks up with a fast-living pro wrestler and discovers the downside of hanging out with risky companions in this sequel to My Father, the Angel of Death (2006). Junior year's a drag for Jesse. His mom has moved out; his dad--a star performer on American Championship Wrestling--is hardly ever home; he's barely getting by in school; and he's spending far more time on the bench than on the football field. His life takes an exciting turn, though, after his father introduces him to 22-year-old TJ, a cocky up-and-coming wrestler. TJ puts him behind the wheel of a hot car, presses beers on him and takes him to a mixed-martial-arts tournament and a boozy Halloween party. Then, ignoring his own growing uneasiness, Jesse takes a ride with TJ across the border to buy steroids. Glimpses of bouts on Monday Night Mayhem and references to "jobbers," "smarks" and Mexican luchadores add more atmosphere than actual wrestling action to a tale that is essentially about making better choices. Jesse makes his after he and TJ are robbed and severely beaten in a Nuevo Laredo alleyway--and so do his parents. Sudden changes in point of view add to an unfocused feel. More about teachable moments than suplexes and drop kicks. (Fiction. 11-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558857490
Publisher:
Arte Publico Press
Publication date:
04/30/2012
Pages:
194
Sales rank:
1,324,977
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 Years

Meet the Author

Ray Villareal is the author of five novels for young adults that capture the angst of adolescent life: Body Slammed! (Piñata Books, 2012); Don’t Call Me Hero (Piñata Books, 2011); Who’s Buried in the Garden? (Piñata Books, 2009), winner of LAUSD’s Westchester Fiction Award; Alamo Wars (Piñata Books, 2008); and My Father, the Angel of Death (Piñata Books, 2006), which was nominated to the 2008-2009 Lone Star Reading List and named to The New York Public Library’s 2007 Books for the Teen Age.

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