The F Factor

The F Factor

by Diane Gonzales Bertrand
     
 

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Javier Avila knows tenth grade is going to be exciting, even though everyone says sophomore year is so dull even the teachers get bored. Sophomores are nobodies, according to the upperclassmen at St. Peter's High School, but suddenly—and against his will—Javier finds himself front and center as the anchorman for the school's brand-new televised

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Overview

Javier Avila knows tenth grade is going to be exciting, even though everyone says sophomore year is so dull even the teachers get bored. Sophomores are nobodies, according to the upperclassmen at St. Peter's High School, but suddenly—and against his will—Javier finds himself front and center as the anchorman for the school's brand-new televised announcements. At first Javier is sure the Media Broadcasting elective he finds on his schedule is a mistake. He's spent his whole life trying to live up to his reputation as "the smartest guy ever," and he doesn't have time for a fluff class. And anyway, why would anyone choose to look stupid in front of the whole school every morning? But his counselor has been trying to convince him to join in extracurricular activities since his freshman year, and he's not going to let Javier off the hook: "There's more to life than studying 24-7." To add to Javier's anxiety about being exposed as an academic fraud, he's paired with Pat Berlanga to co-anchor the news. He's going to be on TV with a guy who's known for sleeping the day away?!? The guy would rather nap than talk! To their surprise though, Javier and Pat make a good team, and Javier soon realizes that he has a special talent for public speaking, writing scripts, and editing video. Javier and Pat slowly begin to feel more comfortable breaking free of the reputations imposed on them by others, but Javier wishes that he could feel as confident approaching Feliz, Pat's drop-dead gorgeous sister. Popular young adult author Diane Gonzales Bertrand has once again written a novel that will strike a chord with contemporary teens who struggle with questions about their choices in friends and the extreme pressure—whether internal or external—to succeed in today's competitive world.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
As Javier Avila begins his sophomore year at Saint Peter's, an all-boys Catholic high school, he is surprised to find himself in a new elective. Electives have previously not fit into the academic schedule of the smartest boy in the class. Especially not an elective like Media Broadcasting. To make things worse, the demanding Mr. Seneca expects Javier to partner with Pat Berlanga, the guy who falls asleep in class and make the announcements on camera in front of the whole school. The more involved with broadcasting he gets, the less time he has for his studies, his best friends, or Feliz, Pat's hot sister. As he struggles to keep up with everything, he learns to expand his horizons and lighten up. The warmth of Javier's friends and family shines from the pages, though his siblings would have been more concrete if they had been present more and talked about less. Bertrand writes for a specific audience: Hispanic teenagers, particularly those in private education. This story will ring true for those readers, but has the potential to reach beyond that audience. Much of high school life will feel familiar, particularly to high achievers. The message that activities outside of academics are as important as doing well academically comes across too strongly and trivializes the problems Javier begins to have with his schoolwork. This book also suffers from a few too many unifying ideas. The media broadcasting class is a unique idea that organizes the story well. What the title is referring to, though, remains unclear, and the prologue introduces an event that has no bearing on the story until the end and was unnecessary overall. While The F Factor is not a groundbreaking work, it successfully serves the purpose of Pinata Books by providing a strong Hispanic character. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Javier Ávila starts his sophomore year at St. Peter's High School with the unwelcome addition of the school's new Media Broadcasting elective to his course schedule, added, he later learns, by a career counselor who wants him to be more well rounded. An honors student, Javier has worked hard to be recognized as smart and dependable. When he is paired with misfit Patricio Berlanga to coanchor the televised morning announcements, Javier is convinced that he will be embarrassed in front of the whole school. However, Pat turns out to be a surprisingly competent partner and a good friend. As the boys navigate their way through the course, they deal with the scorn of upperclassmen, the complications of a romance between Javier and Pat's sister, and a house fire that almost kills both boys. The story is set in Texas and is filled with Hispanic characters and cultural references. In a sometimes heavy-handed way, the author deals with the true nature of friendship and family as Javier works through his evolving expectations of himself. The plot meanders to the climactic house fire only to close with an ambitious and almost fairy-talelike resolution. The course serves as the primary focus of the story, with characters almost secondary, which will limit the title's audience. However, Javier's fears about success and failure (the "F" of the title) ring true. Readers looking for a realistically positive portrayal of a Hispanic community will be rewarded as well.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558855984
Publisher:
Arte Publico Press
Publication date:
04/28/2010
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

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