book review: The Whole Sky Full of Stars

The whole sky full of stars

author: René  Saldaña Jr

Wendy Lamb Books, 2007

main character: Barry Esquivel


“I’m good on my own two feet’”

When you say something out of place about your friend’s mom, you get hit so hard, that you see a sky full of stars. And when you keep behaving out of place with your friend, sometimes the sky just goes dark.

Barry and Alby have been friends since elementary school. You would think that they know each other so well, that they would know when they are going beyond what their friend will accept. Alby has lost some money to a loan shark at school. Barry lost his dad a few years ago and daily, he watches his mom work way past being exhausted to provide for their home. Alby’s dad had indirectly taught his son to be a hustler, just like him. Barry’s dad was the kind of dad anyone would want. He taught his son how to box; repaired cars with him; talked with him and without knowing it, taught him how to be a man of integrity.

Barry and Alby both need money. Alby finds a boxing match in which he can enter Barry and they can both win money. Barry knows about these kinds of matches and how dangerous they can be, and he knows how his mom feels about him boxing. He tries to follow his dad’s voice. Alby? Our boy Alby just digs a deeper and deeper hole for himself!

Obviously, this is a guy book. It doesn’t feel quite right to say it’s a ‘nice’ book! But, that’s just what it is: A smooth, comfortable slice of two boys coming of age as they test the limits of their relationship with each other and with their parents. I especially liked how the dads came through for their sons. While they are both completely different in their parenting skills, they show that however you parent, you need to support and raise your boys.

This is the kind of book that needs to have a soundrack.  Ari!! I need your music skills!!!!

Dr. Rene Saldana Visits Middle Schools
Dr. Rene Saldana Visits Middle Schools

about the author: Originally from Nuevo Peñitas in South Texas (a suburb of Peñitas Viejo), Saldaña now live in Lubbock, TX, with his wife Tina; sons, Lukas and Mikah; and  cats ISBN (pronounced Isben) and Cotten (a recently taken-in kitten), where he teache at Texas Tech University (in their College of Education). Saldana’s current book is The Case of the Pen Gone Missing: A Mickey Rangel Mystery (Piñata Books, 2009). He currently blogs on his self named blog.

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