Tito

Overview

"Jimmy always told me there were only two kinds of gangbangers: Those who were dead and those who were going to die. Joining a gang doesn't make sense to Jimmy..." 

Jimmy is dead now — gunned down in front of his little sister, Mina, and his brother, Tito. And Tito is left wondering: Was Jimmy in a gang after all? Ice Breaker Joe and Lamar think so. They say Jimmy was skimming their drug money. And if the missing cash isn't returned, Tito may have to pay — with his ...

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Overview

"Jimmy always told me there were only two kinds of gangbangers: Those who were dead and those who were going to die. Joining a gang doesn't make sense to Jimmy..." 

Jimmy is dead now — gunned down in front of his little sister, Mina, and his brother, Tito. And Tito is left wondering: Was Jimmy in a gang after all? Ice Breaker Joe and Lamar think so. They say Jimmy was skimming their drug money. And if the missing cash isn't returned, Tito may have to pay — with his life.Some people go to the crossroads, but Tito's crossroads laid themselves down in front of him. His brother Jimmy sprawls on the sidewalk at his feet. Shot in a drive by. Now a gang claims that Jimmy was their Ace Man. They say Tito must take his place and resolve some unfinished business. They give him a gun. "You need protection. It's not safe on the street." What path will be choose at the crossroads? He knows one leads to safety and one to death . . . but which is which?

1997 Recommended Books for Reluctant Young Readers (ALA)
1997 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)
1999 Arizona Young Readers' Award

Author Biography: Lynne Ewing worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services before turning to writing full time. Ms. Ewing lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Twelve-year-old Tito, while helping to care for his little sister, struggles to find his way during the aftermath of his brother's death in a gang-related shooting.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When his older brother is killed in a drive-by shooting, a boy realizes his role model was a gang member. "Ewing's fast-paced first novel offers distinctly drawn, affecting characters and lots of action," said PW. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This eighty-five-page novella begins with the death of Tito's brother Jimmy. The police think it might be a revenge shooting, but sixth grader Tito is sure his brother wasn't in a gang because "Jimmy always told me there were only two kinds of gangbangers: those who were dead and those who were going to die." After Jimmy's death, Tito spends much time convincing himself about his brother's goodness and the stability of his world, though all events contradict his efforts. The adults in the novel seem to react the same way. Tito's mother tells her children that everything's okay, but makes a bed for Mina, Tito's sister, in the bathtub and tells him to sleep on the floor. The book's strength is not in its writing style, nor in plot innovation. It does have a brevity and simplicity that provide access for less proficient readers and so it may reach the kind of child who's pictured in the novel. Readers will have to wonder about the ending which seems like a happily ever after. Can safety and happiness exist in the hopeless world that Ewing describes, or is this just a temporary happily ever after? 1998 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8Jimmy was always joking around. That's what Tito thought he was doing that night in front of the library. But when the gang car sped away and Jimmy lays motionless on the ground, Tito realizes that his brother is dead. He later learns that Jimmy had been skimming money from his "deliveries" and hiding it from his gang and now that he is gone, the gang members begin a destructive search of Tito's house for the stolen cash. After being bullied, badgered, and threatened with death, Tito knows what he has to do. This novel explores the aftermath of a gang-related shooting in a first-person narrative style. While realistic actions and language propel readers through it, character development is minimal; thus, there is no sense of emotional involvement toward Tito and his family. The story encourages readers to do the right thing, but the overall effect is one of helplessness and lack of control. S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders (Viking, 1967) and Walter Dean Myers's Scorpions (HarperCollins, 1988) are far better explorations of gang life.Jana R. Fine, Clearwater Public Library System, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Ewing's first novel is grim, taut, and ultimately hopeful, with a satisfying ending that makes its point without belaboring it. In the early pages, Tito's older brother, Jimmy, is killed in a gang-related drive-by shooting. This is only the beginning of Tito's family's troubles, for while they cope with their grief, the gang attacks their house repeatedly, forcing the family to move. Following revelations about Jimmy's secret life, Tito's innocence is gradually stripped away; he confronts hard truths about gang life and takes action to protect his family and do what is right.

Written in stripped-down prose that mirrors (sometimes gratingly) Tito's bleak world, the brief tale combines the plot twists of a mystery with a topical setting and theme that will appeal to reluctant readers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060271268
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/1996
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 0.56 (d)

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