Frankie has reservations about Steve's crusade to win the respect of the local "cholos." He doesn't think about them, though, until he gets into a fist fight John Dalton - the richest, preppiest kid in his New Mexican high school, and longtime nemesis of Steve. After the fight, Steve takes Frankie under his wing - and Frankie's social currency begins to rise. The "cholos "who used to ignore him start to recognize him; he even lands a date to Homecoming with Rebecca.
The situation with Dalton continues to simmer, and after another incident Steve is bent on retaliating. Frankie starts to think that his brother is taking this respect thing too far. He may have to choose between respecting his brother and respecting himself.
In an honest and humorous debut novel, Coert Voorhees uses a coming of age story to look at where loyalty ends and the self begins.
The Brothers Torres is a rather fast-paced story. It takes place in a few short weeks during a pivotal time in Frankie Towers' life. I think just as important as the characters, is the setting. I don't think this story would have had quite the same effect if set anywhere else. New Mexico is the perfect location for its mixture of cultures & history without being overwhelming diverse.
As the kid brother of the star soccer player, Frankie has never really had his own direction. He did as he was told for the most part & didn't mind getting in trouble for doing stupid stuff. What he doesn't expect is how quickly things can go wrong when you fall in with the wrong people. While there comes a time in everyone's life where they have to choose to stand up for themselves, having that time chosen for you does nothing to help your personal development. Frankie appreciates Steve and his friends' help, but fears that they may be doing more damage than good.
At times I found the characters one sided because it seemed like they only focused on one thing at a time, but I eventually realized that they all represented different parts of a whole person struggling to coexist. I loved the Spanish mixed into the dialogue with no glossary provided because I think it helps give a little insight into the cultural variations among Borges' townspeople. The story was a bit of a slow build, allowing the reader to formulate their own opinion on the situation before delving into the actual plot. I think that really helped me connect better with the characters.
As a newer representative of the Contemporary Life genre, The Brothers Torres does a fine job. While given the background information on the issues that Frankie faces in his life, the focus remains on his reaction to them & his experiences. We get to see Frankie evolve from a bumbling doormat into a self-respecting guy. The trials he faces throughout the book aren't necessarily any different from ones that other teens might face, but the way he handles them is what makes him unique.
The basic obstacles facing the protagonist are often times the same things just in different manifestations. In this book, peer pressure can be represented by the cholos & jealousy can be represented by budding relationships (both platonic & non-platonic). This book is more than just about a boy & his life, it's about every teen and the types of struggles they face. What do I say to a date's parents? Will I be the laughing stock if she turns down my dance request? These things are so mundane that it really takes a personal experience to bring them to life. Coert Voorhees has done a phenomenal job capturing the difficult stages of adolescence in a unique venue!
Now onto, the fun part! As part of the Genreflecting feature, each month I will be giving away a book in the genre I explored. As this month is Contemporary Life I have chosen to give away 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson! The giveaway is open from now until 10 PM on Wednesday, January 30th to US residents. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway