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Roll Over Big Toben
     

Roll Over Big Toben

by Victor Sandoval
 

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Fiction. Children. Victor Sandoval captures the authentic coming-of-age story of a young man from the barrio who seems to have all the avenues of possibility closed to him. Struggling under the burdens of loyalty to family and friends, David becomes a protagonist for every generation, a character who must carve his own place in the world. Victor Sandoval has been

Overview

Fiction. Children. Victor Sandoval captures the authentic coming-of-age story of a young man from the barrio who seems to have all the avenues of possibility closed to him. Struggling under the burdens of loyalty to family and friends, David becomes a protagonist for every generation, a character who must carve his own place in the world. Victor Sandoval has been an educator for over thrity years, spending his entire professional careear with the Alahambra School District. He is now Assistant Principal of Alahambra High School.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
In the young adult novel Roll Over, Big Toben, author Victor M. Sandoval uses Lopez to dramatize the relentless pressures Los Angeles Latinos face to join gangs. — Stephen J. Lyons
Children's Literature
With the recent death of his father, the loss of his birds, and the murder of his gang leader Big Toben, fifteen-year-old David Lopez has suffered more pain than a young man of his age should ever have to deal with. Faced with the decision of avenging Big Toben's death, David is at a crossroad in his life where he will have to choose to be loyal to his gang code or to be loyal to his mother and younger brother and sisters. David ultimately takes his teacher, Mr. West's advice, and "looks the world square in the eye." However, the path to learning what those words mean and finally choosing to do so is challenging for such a young man. This story of relationships, loyalty, loss, and responsibility will capture the reader's attention and allow them to connect with the characters quickly. David Lopez is an intriguing character with whom young adults are sure to connect as he faces difficult decisions that force him to choose between the two most beloved things in his life: his family and his friends who make up his gang. It is an easy and very short read that lacks depth and character development. However, young adults will most definitely learn a lot from this concise book that takes a look at a time and place that many have never encountered before. This is Victor M. Sandoval's first novel. He has been an educator with the Alhambra School District for more than thirty years. 2003, Pi�ata Books, Ages 12 up.
—Rebecca White
KLIATT
A bright and alluring cover opens onto a story that careens with the pacing and the high cliff-hanging-incidence rate offered by a television melodrama series, rather than a well-worked novel. David struggles to make sense of his barrio world, learning to evaluate friendship, family, and the promises of security afforded by gang life. As his story's narrator, David reports on his friend Robert, who struggles with his own family problems, on Toben, the neighborhood gangster, and on his own personal growth from follower to independent thinker. Along the way, the neighborhood is littered with fights, drinking, pigeons, and an apparent soundtrack the snatches of which are so small that 21st-century youth won't be able to place the lines into meaningful song lyrics. (The novel's title is a pun on Chuck Berry's nearly 50-year-old "Roll Over, Beethoven.") David's emotional life is genuine and his perception of the adults in it credible. However, readers will be so busy recovering from one disaster and anticipating the next that it will take them several readings to feel that they have gotten to know a boy who may, indeed and in spite of differences in time and place, have hopes and anxieties in common with them. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2003, Arte Publico Press, Pinata Books , 160p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Francisca Goldsmith
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-In this novel set in a Los Angeles barrio at the cusp of the 1960s, 15-year-old David is pulled between the excitement of street-gang life and the moderating influences of his family. He gallops through a plot that opens with his father's death, quickly spins into a series of tense confrontations between rival gangs, crescendos with a drive-by shooting, and includes a train wreck in addition to the timely earning of a scholarship. Throughout, the teen struggles with angst inspired by uncertain loyalties and a barrage of unwanted attention from various members of the older generation. Each action-packed chapter opens with a line from a rock 'n' roll classic of the era, a device that would provide a nice bit of background theme music for folks who are of David's time, but which won't give much of a beat to 21st-century audiences. The author knows his protagonist's world and its stresses, but his tale is so earnestly cautionary that teens aren't likely to compromise their own viewpoints on the issues and accept the clearly adult/caretaker insights he hopes to impart. Young adults who have enjoyed Luis Rodriguez's autobiographical Always Running: La Vida Loca (S & S, 1994) want more Latino literature that derives its strength from insider information, which Sandoval clearly has, but also from a well-paced plot with fully realized characters, which the author does not provide.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558854017
Publisher:
Arte Publico Press
Publication date:
11/15/2003
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.68(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

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