Frankie, a sophomore, has a highly respected older brother, a senior, who looks out for him. He gives him tips on how to act in a way that will earn him respect. In their small town in New Mexico, this means being seen as hard. What Frankie is trying to do is become a man. But it will not be advice that gets him there. It will be a split-second decision he makes in the face of cruelty that will define who he is and that will liberate him.
There is a saying comparing the making of sausage and the workings of politics that I think should include the navigation of high school life. This story of a boy finding his ground in a high school setting as he tries to mature into a man has much that is not pretty, including violence, drinking, drugs, and sexual insecurity. It is, however, a reality that many high school kids will recognize. It is also a book that shines light and brings heart to what can be a foggy world for some teens.
This well-written book is written from the perspective of a high school boy and will likely be most appreciated by high school boys. High school girls who like to learn about how boys think will also enjoy it. It is a little rough for all but the most well-read and wise middle school kids.