(Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt and Company)

Francisco Ortiz, a handsome straight-A student and gifted basketball player from the barrio, wins a full scholarship to an elite boarding school.  His future seems promising.  But soon after Francisco moves into the dorm, his new classmates assume the worst of him: they pepper him with questions about drugs and gangs.  It’s all so tumultuous, made even more complicated when Francisco realizes that back home in the ‘hood, he no longer fits in, though his friends still rely on him to solve their problems.  In a desperate attempt to help his best friend, Francisco makes a terrible decision and becomes everything he fought to hard to rise against.

“Puerto Rican senior basketballer Francisco Ortiz can’t escape the past... A fresh new voice in teen fiction.” 

--Kirkus Reviews

“Intense and determinedly realistic, this story will leave a lasting impression on readers.”  --Publishers Weekly

“Gritty, fast-paced urban fiction.”  --Booklist

“Takoudes chooses authenticity over a pat resolution and doesn’t downplay the consequences of regrettable choices.”  --School Library Journal


of note

Winner of the 2015 Muriel Becker Award, The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English

A Washington, D.C. Public Library Book of the Day

A Junior Library Guild selection

A YALSA Quick-Picks 2014 Nominee

A Macmillan ReaLITy Reads spotlight book

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Paperback released by Square Fish Books / Macmillan