"Ruben Degollado joins the list of honored writers exploring this ancient and mythic Texas land. His novel shimmers and burns with extraordinary light. I can hear the people talking in my dreams."
--Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels
"Throw completely transported me back to the 1990s Rio Grande Valley and the critical turning points in a teenager's life. In his unforgettable protagonist, Güero, Rubén Degollado beautifully depicts the many-layered beings we all are: vulnerable and tender-hearted beneath a hard exterior as we navigate a world of love, family, and friendships—all in hopes of finding a place to belong."
— Natalia Sylvester, author of Everyone Knows You Go Home and Chasing the Sun
"There are books written with the mind and books written with the heart. Throw by Ruben Degollado is written with both. It's not just that you see a familiar reality presented intensely, accurately, la pura verdad, the way you know it really is. It is also that you see it, finally, the way it should be seen, the way it should be understood and loved, by all."
--Francisco X. Stork, author of Disappeared
"Ruben Degollado's debut young adult novel Throw . . . captures many of the obstacles young men and women face growing up: gangs, alcoholism, broken homes, the need to be loved; at the same time, Throw lifts the spirit, reminding us of the importance of forgiveness, acceptance, and letting go. . . . The tale of La Llorona, her love, loss, and inability to forgive, is a part of the Mexican-American experience and Degollado's fresh take on an abuelita's cautionary tale captures its essence and spins it with a modern perspective for future generations to enjoy."
--Malin Alegria, author of Estrella's Quinceanera
"I have waited, literally, a decade or more to see this book in print. Here it is . . . I am not alone any more. Degollado has done what only a handful in my beautiful Rio Grande Valley of South Texas have done: captured it in its full glory and grit to share it with the world: among them, Americo Paredes, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Narciso Martinez, Freddy Fender, and Genaro Gonzalez. Now, Ruben Degollado."
--Dr. Rene Saldana, author and professor, Texas Tech University
Gr 8 Up—Guero moved away from La Zavala, Texas, which is filled with gangs, including the HCP (Hispanics Causing Panic), to a safer side of town with his parents. The typical teen hangs out with his two closest friends, Angel and Smiley, all over town, including at the La Plaza mall in his old neighborhood. Guero's ex-girlfriend Llorona has a history of depression and almost died by suicide at school. The romantic tension between them is evident to everyone, which causes trouble for Guero when Llorona's new boyfriend comes around. This, along with tension with Guero's friends, who are part of the HCP gang, complicate the protagonist's life. The slim novel showcases the culture in southern Texas, including the expectations of how a boy his age should act and the treatment he receives because he is a Mexican American boy with light skin and blue eyes, in a nuanced way. The only drawbacks in the story are the constant repetitions and the sometimes slow pace. The characters are interesting especially in their interactions. There are some violent scenes, sexually tense situations between the characters, and some adult language throughout. The narrative is an engaging high school drama with cultural references that will resonate with many teens. VERDICT A good choice for libraries serving young adults.—Danielle Jacobs, Las Vegas Clark County Library District