Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
You'd think a knife in the ribs would be the end of things, but for Chuy, that's what it takes to make his life interesting.He finally sees that people love him, faces the consequences of his actions, and even stumbles upon what may be true love.A funny, touching, and wholly original story by one of the finest authors writing for young readers today.
A senior at East Fresno High School lives on as a ghost after his brutal murder in the restroom of a club where he had gone to dance.
$16.00 12-2003 (SPM)
BRA $16.00 2/25/2005
Excerpt provided by Syndetics
<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">WHEN YOU'RE an ordinary-looking guy, even feo, you got to suck it up and do your best. You got to shower, smell clean, and brush your teeth until the gums hurt. You got to dress nice and be Seor GQ. You got to have a little something in your wallet. You got to think, I'll wow the chicas with talk so funny that they'll remember me. This was my lover-boy strategy as I stood in the restroom of Club Estrella combing my hair in the mirror over the sink. I was going to meet Rachel at the dance-Rachel, the girl in the back row in English, the one whose gum-snapping chatter made Mrs. Mitchell's brow furrow. I shook water from my comb and plucked the teeth like a harp. I brought the comb back into my hair again. I had to get it right.It was from happiness, I guess, that I turned to the guy next to me. I said I liked his shoes. They were yellow and really strange to a dude like me who clopped about in imitation Nikes but on that night was wearing a pair of black shoes from Payless. I looked back at the mirror and noticed a telephone number carved with a key in the corner-265-3519. I let my mind play: I could call that number. I could say, "Your number's on the mirror, girlie." I pictured someone like Rachel answering and roaring a frosty, "So!" Then she would be cool, come on strong, and ask, "What's your name, tiger? What's your school? What kind of ride you got?"Ride? I had a bicycle with a bent rim and a skateboard from junior high somewhere in the garage. But a ride? It was Payless shoes made of plastic. Shoes I was going to toss in the closet once the night was over.But the private world inside my head disappeared quickly. The guy next to me, the one with the yellow shoes, worked an arm around my throat, snakelike, and with his free hand plunged a knife into my chest. He stuck me just left of my heart, right where I kept an unopened pack of Juicy Fruit gum-I had intended to sweeten my breath later when I got Rachel alone. I groaned, "No way," and touched that package of gum as I turned and staggered. He lunged and stuck me a second time, just above my belly button-blood the color of pomegranate juice spread across my shirt. I thought, This is not me, and leaned against a sink, grimacing because that one hurt. My legs buckled as I turned and straightened when he stuck me in my lower back. I cried, "How come?" I saw myself in the mirror, my breath on the glass, a vapor that would disappear. I breathed on the surface and saw, in the reflection, the guy stepping away and looking at the ground as if he had dropped a quarter. Then, chin out, he stepped toward me, pulled out the shirttail from the back of my pants, and wiped his blade."What did you say to me, cabrn?" he breathed in my ear. He smelled of a hamburger layered with onions.My answer was on the glass. It was a blot of my breath, a blot of nothing. I couldn't form a word because of how much I hurt.The guy in yellow shoes pushed me away. He put his penknife into his shirt pocket like it Excerpted from The Afterlife by Gary Soto All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Horn Book Review
(Middle School, High School) Many teen readers were drawn to Alice Sebold's adult novel The Lovely Bones, a story narrated by a young girl following her violent death. Soto's Chuy is also the victim of a pointless murder -- a restroom stabbing that occurs in the opening pages -- who rises from his body to observe earthly goings-on. But Soto's novel is lighter than Sebold's, with Chuy making a brief tour of his old life and neighborhood before moving on into the afterlife. Chuy's first impressions after the murder are of his new manifestation as an invisible ghost who is sensed by the living only as an icy chill. He learns how to move around so the wind won't blow him off course and begins to seek out the people in his life. The Latino neighborhoods of Fresno provide a strikingly solid setting for the fantasy, the mix of people and places as tangible as Chuy's ghost is not. Through his visits and replayed memories, we come to know Chuy as a decent guy who ran track, hung out with Angel, his carnal (""blood brother""; the numerous Spanish terms are defined in a glossary), and considered himself nothing special. It becomes clear from his grieving family and friends -- even his unrequited crush, Rachel -- that he was loved. But Chuy is more engaged with the here-and-now -- with his life as a teenage ghost -- and before his ghostly self disappears (he sees his outline vanishing bit by bit), Chuy treats himself to his first live Oakland Raiders game. And if his greatest regret in life was not hooking up with Rachel the night he was killed, he scores even bigger with the ghost of beautiful, popular Crystal: Soto sends the couple floating toward the afterlife with poetic metaphors of autumn, defining the book not as tragic reality but ghostly romance. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.