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CrashBoomLove
     

CrashBoomLove

by Juan Felipe Herrera
 

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In this novel in verse—unprecedented in Chicano literature—renowned poet Juan Felipe Herrera illuminates the soul of a generation. Drawn from his own life as well as a lifetime of dedication to young people, CrashBoomLove helps readers understand what it is to be a teen, a migrant worker, and a boy wanting to be a boy.

Sixteen-year-old César

Overview

In this novel in verse—unprecedented in Chicano literature—renowned poet Juan Felipe Herrera illuminates the soul of a generation. Drawn from his own life as well as a lifetime of dedication to young people, CrashBoomLove helps readers understand what it is to be a teen, a migrant worker, and a boy wanting to be a boy.

Sixteen-year-old César García is careening. His father, Papi César, has left the migrant circuit in California for his other wife and children in Denver. Sweet Mama Lucy tries to provide for her son with dichos and tales of her own misspent youth. But at Rambling West High School in Fowlerville, the sides are drawn: Hmongs vs. Chicanos vs. everybody vs. César, the new kid on the block.

Precise and profound, CrashBoomLove will appeal to and resonate with high school readers across the country.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Poet Herrera's first foray into young adult literature follows two critically acclaimed picture books and many volumes of poetry. The Mexican-American experience is one Herrera frequently documents in his fictional and autobiographical writings, and this book is no exception. The story of Cesar, the sixteen-year-old son of Mexican migrant workers, is told sparingly yet meaningfully through Herrera's chapter poems. The delicacy of Herrera's writing contrasts with the violence that accompanies Cesar's life in a racially polarized high school, where the administration favors punishment over rehabilitation, and few classroom lessons seem relevant. Crashboomlove depicts Cesar's search for a voice, for an identity outside of the landscape of drugs and daredevils, fights and hatred. "Everything speaks," Cesar notices. "I want to speak too. I purr to myself. / But when? How?" Herrera's poetry includes several Spanish words and phrases, each defined unobtrusively with a footnote. Herrera's young adult novel undoubtedly will be compared with Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street (Arté Pûblico, 1983, (c)1984), and indeed, would be a good companion read. Cesar's voice is genuine; Herrera records the musings of a uniquely contemplative teenager learning to stand on his own. Though the format might not initially appeal to casual readers, the immediately engaging text and topical subject matter will invite reluctant teens. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 1999, University of New Mexico Press, 176p, $10.95 Trade pb. Ages 16 to 18. Reviewer: Amy S. Pattee

SOURCE:VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Though not particularly well written, this narrative poem is a real page-turner. The story is of the fairly conventional Rebel without a Cause/To Sir with Love genre: the new kid doesn't fit in at school, struggles to find his place, witnesses the death of a friend, and finally finds himself with the help of a teacher. The twist is that the rebel in question is a young Chicano, which allows Herrera to toss in scattered bits of native slang (footnoted ad nauseam). C sar Garc'a is a confused, sometimes reckless, but always sympathetic figure who is struggling with his broken family, his sense of isolation, and his desire to just "crash against everything." He gets involved in petty crimes, some violence, and drugs, but he is always searching for something more. Unfortunately, while he's not quite one-dimensional, he rarely comes fully to life. Told entirely in his voice, the narrative at times becomes tiresome, or even pointless. However, some readers will relate to C sar and his friends (outcasts and lonely, misunderstood adolescents) and to their alienation.-Herman Sutter, Saint Agnes Academy, Houston, TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826321145
Publisher:
University of New Mexico Press
Publication date:
09/28/1999
Series:
Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
165
Sales rank:
663,424
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.45(d)
Lexile:
520L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Juan Felipe Herrera is professor of Chicano studies at California State University, Fresno.

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