Friday, March 27, 2009

No More Us For You, by David Hernandez

Life as a museum guard ought to be fairly boring, but red licorice-loving Carlos has an amusing ability to attract trouble. Add to this some awkward relationship stumbling and a lot of boy-on-boy hazing and trash-talking (the writing is definitely R rated) and you mostly get a fairly uneventful story about a 17 year-old boy for the first half of the book. This changes though when a tragedy strikes out of the blue. Now the book becomes an exploration of survivor guilt and coping with loss. Employing alternate narrators (Carlos and Isabel), we attempt to get two perspectives on the events.

If my summary sounds a bit half-baked (and if it seems a bit odd that I have nothing to say about the narrator [Isabel] of half of the novel), that should give you a sense of the book's flaws. The book lacks direction, preferring to wallow in dialogue that seems to exist mostly to prove its authenticity than to further the story. The boys (Carlos and his male friends) are well drawn-out but the girls are throwaway and never really emerge with clear purposes of their own. This would be forgivable if the story had a point to make, but it never does that either.

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