Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood
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Catalog Number: #5728849
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition Date: 2011
Pages: 240
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-933693-99-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-933693-99-6
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Someone's gonna hurt you. And you're gonna wish you never had a heart. The warning quickly becomes reality as Sammy struggles with his girlfriend Juliana's violent death. Sammy and Juliana's Hollywood is a New Mexico barrio, where Sammy loses more than his virginity and his girlfriend during his difficult 1969 senior year. A good student and an avid reader (his classmates nickname him The Librarian), he works hard for his dream of college. One friend is drafted for Vietnam, another dies of a drug overdose. Two gay friends leave town in exile, and Sammy's father is injured in an automobile accident, altering Sammy's plans. But dad suggests that they shouldn't feel so bad about loss: I mean--it's the only thing we're good at. The barrio setting is as palpable as the wings that beat against Sammy's insides when danger lurks. The tough but caring family, neighbors, and friends speak in authentic dialogue liberally laced with Spanish that adds texture to the story, and an empathetic teacher and a stand against the school dress code provide a small victory to help Sammy weather the racism and poverty that fuel his emotions and his losses.
Horn Book
Looking back at his teenage years in a New Mexican barrio called Hollywood, Sammy recalls his ill-fated romance with the tragic Juliana, the death of a friend in Vietnam, and the impact of social changes on his school life and friendships during the late 1960s. Written in a poetic first-person voice that incorporates some Spanish into the narrative, Sammy's story of love, loss, and strong family ties is hard to forget.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Sammy Santos-responsible, bright, and self-contained-grows up in the Hollywood barrio of Las Cruces, NM, during the last half of the 1960s. S enz provides the Mexican-American teen with a voice that is genuine and compelling, realistic in its limitations and nuances as he comes to grips with the death of Juliana, his first love, and the increasingly complex demands and needs of his remaining friends, as well as of his family and neighbors. Subplots involve the role of the Church in the barrio, the movement from authoritarian school administrations to the loosening of rules during the Vietnam War period, the realistic portrayal of what happened to too many gay teens during this period (and continues to happen today), the effects of the draft on poor young men of color, the roles adopted by individual teens as they mature within a community's social order, and family ties that require people to choose sometimes for themselves and sometimes for others in the family. S enz works through all this material neatly and so effectively that Sammy deserves to become a character of lasting interest to both casual readers and literature classes. Expletives appear throughout as do large helpings of Spanish, without italics and not always with English echoed afterward, in perfect keeping both with Sammy's world and his self-perception. His hopes and plans for a better life, beyond the hold of Hollywood are poignant and palpable. This is a powerful and authentic look at a community's aspirations and the tragic losses that result from shattered dreams.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* This story of growing up in a poor New Mexico barrio (ironically called Hollywood) offers up late-1960s angst as experienced by a smart teen named Sammy Santos. Nicknamed the Librarian by his Mexican American peers, with whom he keeps his distance, Sammy's portal into the world of his neighbors is through his girlfriend, Juliana. Her violent murder sets in motion Sammy's senior year of eye-opening growth and anger. Ramirez keeps Sammy's narrative first-person voice almost unaccented. However, when Sammy is engaged in dialogue with family and friends, Ramirez richly peppers the conversations with Mexican American flavor. More importantly, Ramirez gives Sammy a mix of sweetness and vulnerability that edges ever closer to hard bitterness without spilling over, in keeping with his character. His Sammy takes on a hard fate e loss of friends to Vietnam and other circumstances and the loss of his out-of-state-college dream after his father suffers a debilitating accident t he doesn't buckle. Juliana spits spunk, and friend Rene's voice is lean and tough, while Sammy's dad sounds gently weary, voiced slowly and softly. The dialogue is shot through with Spanish phrases, but the meanings are always made clear because of context and subtext. There's bilingual swearing, but it's natural to the time and place, never gratuitous. Sammy's saga, set in an era of upheaval, is well worth a listen.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Wilson's High School Catalog
Word Count: 81,773
Reading Level: 2.8
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.8 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 82054 / grade: Upper Grades

It is 1969, America is at war, "Hollywood" is a dirt-poor Chicano barrio in small-town America, and Sammy and Juliana face a world of racism, war in Vietnam, and barrio violence. Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood is a Young Adult Library Services Association Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Young Adults. Benjamin Alire Sáenz --novelist, poet, and writer of children's books--was named one of the "Fifty Most Inspiring Authors in the World" by Poets & Writers magazine. He was also a finalist for PEN/USA's literary award for children's and young adult literature. Sáenz lives in El Paso, Texas.


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