Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Review: Efrain's Secret

The Plot: Seventeen-year-old Efrain may have grown up in the poorest part of New York City, but he has his heart set on attending Harvard. He’s on track to be the valedictorian of his class, and willing to study like crazy to bring up his SAT score. But none of this seems to matter when he looks at the cost of tuition, not to mention books or room and board. Efrain’s mother works herself to death just to keep food on the table for him and his sister. And his loser father has a new family to support now. So Efrain lets is friend talk him into slinging. He has always fought against the stereotype of becoming just another teenage drug dealer, but now he sees it as his chance at a better life. Honor student by day, drug dealer by night, Sofia Quintero’s Efrain’s Secret depicts one boy’s desperate struggle for a better life.

Efrain’s Secret started out a little slow for me, but by the end I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I loved the way the book was formatted, and the vocab. words as chapter titles was a nice touch. The dialogue seemed slightly forced, but most of the characters were believable and easy to connect with.  Oddly enough, the character I had the most difficulty understanding was Efrain. It was never really clear to me why he was so set on an Ivy League school. I understand his drive to get out, but there are several colleges far from New York that don’t come with an Ivy League price tag. The book focuses on how smart Efrain is, but he made some really dumb choices. But I do appreciate that this is not a fairy-tale story where everything works out despite the bad choices made by the main character. The ending is full of possibilities, but everyone still has to pay for their choices.

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