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Perez II, Rene S.: Seeing Off the Johns.

2Q * 2P * S * NA

Perez II, Rene S. Seeing Off the Johns. Cinco Puntos, 2015. 256p. $16.95. 978-1-941026-11-3.

A small Texas town loses its college-bound favorite sons, both named John, in a car accident. The novel touches on what happens to their grieving families and fellow citizens but focuses intensely on the lives of Araceli, the girlfriend of one of the boys, and Chon, a boy one year younger than the Johns who is obsessed with Araceli. As the townsfolk grieve, Araceli leaves town to spend the summer with relatives, away from the spotlight other people are shining on her. Chon spends that summer preoccupied with how to make Araceli fall in love with him. He has been obsessed with her for years, and he sees the death of her boyfriend as his chance to win her over. Chon does seem to recognize that this is an unhealthy response to death, and he gets to know Araceli through his friendship with her cousin and does eventually win her heart.

Although Chon spends time wooing Araceli when she returns to town, he still comes across as creepy and very much a stalker, and their falling for each other reads as hurried and false. The author has some lovely turns of phrase and writes very descriptively but spends many pages telling readers about plot developments instead of showing them. At times, the book lectures readers about what relationships mean. The elaborate and almost hyperbolic language may be too much for a young adult novel of obsession and first relationships. --Geri Diorio.

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Author:Diorio, Geri
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2015
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