The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork
When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short: If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assigned to help D.Q., whose brain cancer has slowed neither his spirit nor his mouth. D.Q. tells Pancho all about his "Death Warrior's Manifesto," which will help him to live out his last days fully--ideally, he says, with the love of the beautiful Marisol. As Pancho tracks down his sister's murderer, he finds himself falling under the influence of D.Q. and Marisol, who is everything D.Q. said she would be;and he is inexorably drawn to a decision: to honor his sister and her death, or embrace the way of the Death Warrior and choose life.
Nuanced in its characters and surprising in its plot developments--both soulful and funny--Last Summer is a buddy novel of the highest kind: the story of a friendship that helps two young men become all they can be.
Francisco X. Stork is the author of Marcelo in the Real World, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens and the Once Upon a World Award; The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, which was named to the YALSA Best Fiction for Teens list and won the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award; Irises; and The Memory of Light, which received four starred reviews. He lives near Boston with his wife. You can find him on the web at www.franciscostork.com and @StorkFrancisco.
The Last Summer of the Death Warriors 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
This is the first novel I have read by Francisco Stork and believe me he did not disappoint.
The story begins when the main character, Pancho, is admitted to a St. Anthony's a boy orphanage after breaking another boy's jaw. Pancho is still grieving for his mother, father (who died in a work-related accident), and his sister, Rosa who he strongly believes was murdered. He vows that he'll kill his sister's murderer once and for all.
Pancho quickly becomes the companion of D.Q. , a boy his age suffering from brain cancer. D.Q. is writing a manifesto for Death Warriors that he shares with Pancho. D.Q. invites Pancho with him to the hospital where he'll receive treatment and see Marisol, the girl D.Q. is in love with.
As the story goes on, a dilemma occurs when both Pancho and D.Q. fall for the sweet, beautiful Marisol. Also, a problem starts when Pancho has to decide whether a true Death Warrior could actually take another life.
Definitely read it. I read all this book in 2 days and mostly on the 2nd day. I loved it and look forward to reading his other teen novel Marcelo in Real Life.
More than 1 year ago
After reading MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD for the Cybils, I was really interested when given the chance to review THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS. As much as I liked MARCELO, I absolutely loved DEATH WARRIORS.
It's the story of an unlikely friendship. When Pancho's father dies, he is left to take care of himself and his sister. Rosa works at a nearby restaurant, but her simple mind requires that someone look out for her. Pancho does his best, but she meets a man at the diner and one night she is found murdered. Now, Pancho is out for revenge.
When the social service people discover that Pancho is alone, they hustle him off to an orphanage where he meets D.Q. D.Q. is in a wheelchair due to weakness caused by a rare form of cancer. For some reason, D.Q. attaches himself to Pancho. He arranges for Pancho to be his aide. Pancho finds himself going everywhere with D.Q., seeing to his needs, and listening as the kid babbles on about something he is writing called the Death Warriors Manifesto.
Revenge for his sister's death fills Pancho's thoughts, but the constant presence of D.Q. put any plans he has on hold. Almost before he knows what's happening, Pancho is accompanying the cancer patient to the hospital for a special round of experimental chemotherapy. He has agreed to stay with D.Q. through the treatment and recovery, and their friendship grows.
Author Francisco X. Stork takes readers into the lives of two young people struggling with problems bigger than most adults deal with. Stork's crisp, clear writing transported me directly into their lives. Seeing their bravery in the face of difficult circumstances made their story a riveting and inspiring reading experience.
THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS is not afraid to deal with some major life issues such as abandonment, the different meanings of love, quality of life decisions, and facing death.
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