Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Body Slammed! and My Father, the Angel of Death

By Ray Villareal 
  • ISBN 9781558857490
  • Fiction Young Adult         
  • Bind Trade Paperback     
  • Pages 200    
  • Age Group 11 and up
An appealing book for teens about making the right choices

Sixteen-year-old Jesse Baron feels like he’s living his life on the sidelines. He’s on the varsity football team, but only because it’s what his dad wants him to do. And the girl he used to go out with is dating the popular quarterback. Jesse is fed up with being cut down and dismissed, whether by the coach or his friends. If only he was bigger, tougher and more athletic, like his dad.

Those things didn’t matter to Jesse’s mom. She left his father, a professional wrestler, because of his demanding career. But it’s through his dad that Jesse meets TJ Masters, a brash, new wrestling talent who’s over 21, drives a fast car and is more than willing to show Jesse a good time. And unlike his dad, TJ makes Jesse feel tough and confident; he even offers to help Jesse bulk up. But will Jesse listen to his family and friends when they warn him about hanging out with someone who’s often reckless and irresponsible?

In this stand-alone sequel to his acclaimed debut novel My Father, the Angel of Death, Ray Villareal touches on serious themes such as drinking and driving, lying to loved ones and even steroid use. Author and educator Villareal once again writes a compelling novel for teens that explores the impact of making poor choices and choosing the right friends.

 By   Ray Villareal

  • ISBN 9781558854666
  • Category Young Adult    
  • Bind Trade Paperback
  • Pages 192
  • Age Group 11 and up 
 This fast-paced novel for young adults showcases the lives 
of professional wrestlers from behind the scenes

Out of the fog billowing from the regions of the Netherworld steps a gigantic, ominous figure dressed in black. A white, skeleton face peers from the long, hooded cloak draping his massive frame, and in one hand, he clutches a wood-handled scythe with a razor-sharp blade. It’s … the Angel of Death, the American Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion! But one of the most popular wrestlers on Monday Night Mayhem is also Mark Baron, Jesse Baron’s father.

Jesse has just started at yet another new school, this time in San Antonio, and he dreads the moment when the other kids in his seventh-grade class learn who his father is.  The reaction will be the same as it was in Omaha, Atlanta, Tampa, St. Louis, and all the other cities he has lived in. They will want to be his “friend” not because they like him, but because they are obsessed with the Angel of Death. When Jesse learns that one of the boys at school-one of his father’s biggest fans-doesn’t have a father, Jesse realizes that he has never made an effort to get to know his classmates. Could his automatic assumption that other kids are only interested in him because of his father be wrong? Is it possible to make friends, in spite of his father?

Meanwhile, his parents’ relationship is also suffering because of the Angel of Death’s celebrity status. The constant moving from city to city, his father’s extended absences while on tour with the ACW, and fans who clamor for autographs and photos even during family outings lead to continuous bickering. They have separated once before, and Jesse worries that his mother will leave his dad again.

As Jesse negotiates all the usual middle-school problems-from bullies to first love-he can’t help but wonder what his life would be like if his father weren’t a famous wrestler. Wouldn’t things be better if his dad quit the ACW? But would his father be happy leaving a career he loves?

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