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Diamond Park
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Diamond Park
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A fast-paced YA novel about four Mexican-American teenagers from Houston, a '59 Chevy Impala, and a murder that changes their lives forever.Flaco isn’t the kind of kid who gets in trouble. He...
A fast-paced YA novel about four Mexican-American teenagers from Houston, a '59 Chevy Impala, and a murder that changes their lives forever.Flaco isn’t the kind of kid who gets in trouble. He...
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  • A fast-paced YA novel about four Mexican-American teenagers from Houston, a '59 Chevy Impala, and a murder that changes their lives forever.
    Flaco isn’t the kind of kid who gets in trouble. He doesn’t want to give his mom or his aunt Ana Flor any grief—they’ve had enough since his cousin Carlos died serving in Afghanistan. But he finds a whole lot more trouble than he bargained for when he and his friends Tiny, Magaña, and Susi ride the bus from their Houston neighborhood to Diamond Park to buy a used car. And not just any car—a 1959 Impala convertible, a dream car. The transaction gets complicated fast, and Susi ends up with a knife in her hands, covered in blood. When Tiny has to disappear to avoid ICE, Flaco and Magaña head south in the Impala to set things right. In a wildly impetuous move, the two boys cross into Mexico hunting for a trafficker named Anaconda, the man they believe is the real killer, to clear Susi’s name. In a breathtaking, seat-of-your-pants adventure they manage to kidnap him but in the process they discover how little they ever actually understood about what really happened in Diamond Park.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2022
    Two teenagers drive from Texas to Mexico to find a murderer and clear their friend's name. High school senior Flaco is frustrated with his family and still mourning the death of his cousin, who joined the Army and was killed by the Taliban. Skipping school to help buddy Maga�a buy a 1959 Chevy Impala convertible doesn't seem like a big deal. Their friend Tiny joins them, and Flaco is excited when longtime crush Susi asks to tag along too--but things go horribly awry. During the transaction over the car, the boys are separated from Susi, a man ends up dead, and Susi is accused of murder. The Mexican American teens experience racism in the criminal justice and immigration systems when it becomes clear that no one--not the police or even her lawyer--will help Susi and when Tiny, who is undocumented, must disappear along with his entire family to avoid arrest and deportation. Flaco and Maga�a assume the real killer is Anaconda, a known murderer and coyote. The two boys set out across the border on a desperate mission to kidnap Anaconda, bring him to justice in the United States, and free Susi from jail. A dangerous quest ensues that will keep pages turning. The teens are aided by strokes of luck that sometimes stretch credulity but make for fast-paced, heart-wrenching reading. Dark, compelling, and surprisingly hopeful. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 24, 2022
    Diederich (Playing for the Devil’s Fire) interweaves Mexican American culture and murder in a rollicking road trip adventure that offers action without sacrificing emotional heft. Flaco, a teen living in Houston, dreams of finishing his senior year of high school and pursuing an art career. Though his caring but tense family frustrates him, he finds solace with other Mexican Americans: friends Magaña and Tiny as well as crush Susi. When the four take a ride to Diamond Park to pick up Magaña’s dream car, a 1959 Chevy Impala, an incident leaves one man dead, another on the run, and Susi on the hook for a murder. Flaco and Magaña set off to find the runaway man, whom they suspect committed the murder, a journey that takes them into Mexico and further into a world of violence, bribery, and narcos, knowing that without their help, Susi will go down for the crime. Slow, needlessly detailed exposition eventually gives way to a plotline that leaves some questions unanswered, but Flaco’s realistic narrative voice offers a unique and thought-provoking, conversational perspective on class, mental health, and misogyny. Ages 14–up. Agent: Isabelle Bleecker, Nordlyset Agency.

  • Booklist

    March 1, 2022
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* The author of Playing for the Devil's Fire (2016) brings readers a new gritty coming-of-age story rooted in that most universal of teenage dreams--getting a car. When Maga�a tells Flaco and Tiny that they're all skipping school to pick up his dream car, a 1959 Chevy Impala convertible, from his godfather Rayo's house in Diamond Park, the boys don't put up much of a fight. What should have been a simple trip goes sideways when Flaco's crush, Susi, invites herself along. While Susi chooses to stay at the house with Rayo and his thug-like associate, Anaconda, the boys leave to get the Impala from a nearby farm. Upon their return, the boys are confronted with an awful scene: yellow crime-scene tape, Susi covered in blood, Rayo's body being loaded into an ambulance, and no sign of Anaconda. What ensues is Maga�a and Flaco's desperate (and idiotic) plan to clear Susi's name by tracking down Anaconda in Mexico. Diederich paints a complex picture of teenage life in a world that regards one with suspicion for having brown skin--Susi, Maga�a, and Flaco are all Mexican American and Tiny is an undocumented Mexican. He broaches heavy subjects with a light touch, creating a realistic backdrop for the tense action that unfolds. Flaco's feelings of guilt and responsibility ring true, as does his struggle to decide what to do with his life after graduation--please his hardworking mother or follow his dreams? This novel packs a punch while managing to wrest tough situations into the realm of hope.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2022

    Gr 9 Up-It was supposed to be a quick trip to pick up their dream car, a 1959 Chevy Impala, from Maga�a's godfather. High school seniors Flaco, Maga�a, Tiny, and Susi leave Houston and head to Diamond Park. Flaco is cautious about this trip; he has been lost in his grief since the death of his beloved cousin, who died while serving in Afghanistan. After the boys get the car working, they are shocked to find Maga�a's godfather has been murdered; holding a knife and covered in blood is Susi. Flaco sets out to prove Susi's innocence with Maga�a; Tiny disappears so he won't be deported. They set out to find Anaconda, a dangerous trafficker whom they believe is the murderer. As they head to Mexico, danger and suspense fills the trip as they try to find Anaconda-either they capture him or end up dead. The Spanish and English dialogue stays true to the bilingual characters. This moving and fast-paced story at its core is about freeing a friend, but it's also about Flaco finding himself. This book showcases how so many teens feel in their desire to develop their sense of self and figure out what they want from life. A mixture of stereotypes, racism, poverty, and so much more are explored throughout the story, creating a rich and complex journey through culture, heritage, and finding the truth. VERDICT An important title displaying the complexities of Latinx culture and of finding a sense of self set against the backdrop of trying to catch a murderer, this story will keep readers on the edge with danger lurking behind every corner.-Katie Llera

    Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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