for The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork
The deaths of his father and sister within three months have made seventeen-year-old Pancho the newest resident at St. Anthony’s, a home for orphaned and abandoned boys. D.Q., a resident who is terminally ill with cancer, quickly pegs Pancho as his new best friend. Pancho resists the role, but D.Q. wants someone in his corner and senses there’s something Pancho wants, too. D.Q. is going to Albuquerque to try a new treatment regime his mother insists upon. She abandoned D.Q. years before in a time of crisis, and now she is fighting for his life even if it means alienating him further. And it turns out a way to get to Albuquerque is exactly what Pancho has been hoping for. The man he believes is responsible for the death of his developmentally disabled sister lives there, and Pancho plans on killing him. Francisco X. Stork’s astoundingly beautiful novel explores complex emotions of characters who are fully realized as they weave their way into one another’s hearts and minds. With its suspenseful and satisfying conclusion, this story affirms the power of caring and love to reveal meaning and value in life. (Age 14 and older)
CCBC Choices 2011. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011. Used with permission.
When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short: If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assigned to help D.Q., whose brain cancer has slowed neither his spirit nor his mouth. D.Q. tells Pancho all about his "Death Warrior's Manifesto," which will help him to live out his last days fully--ideally, he says, with the love of the beautiful Marisol. As Pancho tracks down his sister's murderer, he finds himself falling under the influence of D.Q. and Marisol, who is everything D.Q. said she would be;and he is inexorably drawn to a decision: to honor his sister and her death, or embrace the way of the Death Warrior and choose life. Nuanced in its characters and surprising in its plot developments--both soulful and funny--Last Summer is a buddy novel of the highest kind: the story of a friendship that helps two young men become all they can be.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.