I’ve been meaning to read Matt de la Pena’s books for years it seems. I finally got around to it a few weeks ago, and I still cannot believe that I didn’t try reading any of his books earlier.
Danny has always felt alienated. He doesn’t speak Spanish like the rest of his father’s family, and he’ll always be the one Mexican boy in his all-white private school. And his dad hasn’t been around in years. So he figures he doesn’t really have much of a reason to talk. Like every other summer, he’s living with his father’s family. Only this year, he’s decided to earn enough money to visit his dad in Mexico; the only issue is that he has to find a way to earn that money, since the only thing he’s really good at is baseball. Uno needs money badly too, so he can leave his mother and stepfather to live with his dad’s new family. When the two boys meet, at a home run derby, they couldn’t be farther from friends. But their love of baseball brings them together, and they become best friends. And although they don’t realize it at the beginning, both will grow because of it.
I don’t usually enjoy “sports” novels, which was why I was a bit hesitant to read this book, but after a few chapters, I realized that this book was not just a sports novel. A large part of the book is centered around baseball, but so much more is based around Danny and Uno’s relationships with their families and friends and their own personally growth. You can’t help but love both of them by the end, and wish to hear more, even though the story ends very well and feels very complete.
I’d strongly recommend Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena, as well as his other books. Check out his website, and stop by the festival in May to see him!