Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors By: Francisco Stork

The Last Summer of
the Death Warriors


When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short: If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assigned to help D.Q., whose brain cancer has slowed neither his spirit nor his mouth. D.Q. tells Pancho all about his "Death Warrior's Manifesto," which will help him to live out his last days fully--ideally, he says, with the love of the beautiful Marisol. As Pancho tracks down his sister's murderer, he finds himself falling under the influence of D.Q. and Marisol, who is everything D.Q. said she would be;

and he is inexorably drawn to a decision: to honor his sister and her death, or embrace the way of the Death Warrior and choose life.


The Last Summer of the Death Warriors follows Pancho, a recently made orphan, who is determined to find and kill the man who killed his sister, Rosa. Because of this and his grief for his sister, Pancho is rage filled and hateful of life. Enter DQ, an intelligent and charismatic boy staying at St. Anthony’s orphanage who loves life more than anyone else Pancho has ever met. DQ also happens to be dying from cancer.

Through their forced friendship the two boys begin the healing process as they travel the state in search for a cure for DQ’s disease. Through this odyssey they encounter family members, murderers, and lovers. And it is through this journey that they both will learn the importance of striving for the life of a Death Warrior.

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors is a stunning work of genius. Through endearing characters, enchanting dialogue, and exhilarating plot lines, Francisco Stork has created a riveting tale of grief, life, love, and death, that will captivate readers worldwide.

But what most impressed me was Stork’s character development throughout The Last Summer of the Death Warriors. Both Pancho and DQ undergo realistic dramatic changes in personality throughout the story. From DQ’s innocent yet crushing realization that the Death Warrior Manifesto is an idealistic dream, to Pancho’s progression through grief and rage over his sister’s murder. This development while striking when looked at from beginning to end is done with a subtlety that only a master story tell such as Francisco Stork could achieve.

But Stork has taken the character development a step further than even this, as he shows the development of attraction between Pancho and Marisol from Pancho’s perspective. While this may not sound like much, it was truly awe inspiring how Stork slowly brought Marisol into focus through Pancho’s eyes. From when he first meets her, proclaiming “She’s nothing to write home about.” To the end of the transformation when they kiss and Pancho describes it as “just enough to taste the future.”

All in all this book was an amazing read, and I would recommend it to any fan of young adult literature, as this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long while.


PUBLISHER: Scholastic

PUBLISHED: March 1, 2010

PRICE: $17.99

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