Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Brothers Torres by Coert Voorhees

If you can handle language and a little teenage hanky-panky in the backseat of a borrowed car, Coert Voorhees' YA novel The Brothers Torres is an excellent read. To me, an excellent book is one that has well-developed characters, an intriguing plot, and great writing. Voorhees gets top marks in each of these catagories.

I found myself reading it at odd times, picking it up to just read a few more pages while I was waiting for water to boil or the microwave to ding. That's another indication for me that I had my hands on a great book.

I've never been a sophomore boy living in New Mexico, so I can't vouch for authenticity from first-hand experience, but this book felt REAL to me. I don't usually like the use of excessive potty-talk in novels, but I don't think the author could have pulled off an authentic voice without it in this one, to be honest. Main character Frankie had to be a little "bad" because his main objective in life was to prove himself to his wanna-be-gangster older brother. But he's likeable, too. He was a perfect mixture of flawed and adorable. I rooted for him through the entire book.

I was also impressed with Voorhees' minor characters. They were interesting, especially Frankie's glass-eyed friend, Zach. The characters had interesting hobbies, too. Frankie and Zach's friendship was partly built around blowing things up, for instance. I appreciated how original Voorhees was in his development of all his characters. I didn't feel like he relaxed into stereotypes.

And the ending is exactly what you want it to be. Everybody grows. Consequences are real. But it's not a cheeseball ending.

Great book. Two thumbs up for The Brothers Torres.


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