Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork

"I'm just human.  Our task is to try.  Being a death warrior is all in the trying."

After the recent death of his father and older sister, seventeen-year-old Pancho arrives at St. Anthony’s Home for orphaned boys with one thing on his mind - to leave as soon as he gets the chance.  He aims to find the man that killed his mentally disabled sister and bring her death to justice.  Then he meets D.Q., a high-spirited teenager that is dying from cancer and his plans change.  Pancho is hired by the priest at the home to help D.Q. and travel with him while he is going through experimental chemotherapy treatment. During treatment, D.Q. focuses on writing his “Death Warrior’s Manifesto” and spending time with the beautiful Marisol, the girl of his dreams.  Pancho soon finds himself forming and unexpected bond with D.Q. and begins to question his decision to find his sister’s killer.

I wasn’t really expecting to like this book, but I ended up really enjoying it.  Typical novels involving the dying and death of young adults tend to be overly dramatic, but the author told this story in a way that was beautiful and compelling.  The main characters of Pancho, D.Q., and Marisol as well as the supporting characters were well developed and complex as individual characters and in their relationships with one another.  This was a wonderfully written story and heartbreaking story of faith, love, and friendship that I would highly recommend to young adults.

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