This book was so good I couldn't put it down. I recognized the characters that read like people I know, and my own community. I cheered for Juan, JD, and Juan's mom. The combination of pressures from living in a poor neighborhood, trying to avoid gang members and the police, have them boxed into a corner it feels very hard to escape. The end was a surprise and left me heartbroken. I hope this book is a success and that Matt Mendez keeps writing. I'm recommending this book to everyone.
My favorite quote from Juan's abuelo "You know why they took the draft away? The draft turned everyone into something. A draft-dodger. A prisoner. A protester. Or a soldier. The war got everyone, one way or another. Now, no one even notices the war. Because no one notices poor people."
"There are moments when a story shakes you...Barely Missing Everything is one of those stories, and Mendez, a gifted storyteller with a distinct voice, is sure to bring a quake to the literary landscape." --Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author of Long Way DownIn the tradition of Jason Reynolds and Matt de la Pe a, this heartbreaking, no-holds-barred debut novel told from three points of view explores how difficult it is to make it in life when you--your life, brown lives--don't matter.Juan has plans. He's going to get out of El Paso, Texas, on a basketball scholarship and make something of himself--or at least find something better than his mom Fabi's cruddy apartment, her string of loser boyfriends, and a dead dad. Basketball is going to be his ticket out, his ticket up. He just needs to make it happen. His best friend JD has plans, too. He's going to be a filmmaker one day, like Quinten Tarantino or Guillermo del Toro (NOT Steven Spielberg). He's got a camera and he's got passion--what else could he need? Fabi doesn't have a plan anymore. When you get pregnant at sixteen and have been stuck bartending to make ends meet for the past seventeen years, you realize plans don't always pan out, and that there some things you just can't plan for... Like Juan's run-in with the police, like a sprained ankle, and a tanking math grade that will likely ruin his chance at a scholarship. Like JD causing the implosion of his family. Like letters from a man named Mando on death row. Like finding out this man could be the father your mother said was dead. Soon Juan and JD are embarking on a Thelma and Louise--like road trip to visit Mando. Juan will finally meet his dad, JD has a perfect subject for his documentary, and Fabi is desperate to stop them. But, as we already know, there are some things you just can't plan for...