Danny's tall and skinny. Even though he’s not built, his arms are long enough to give his pitch a power so fierce any college scout would sign him on the spot. Ninety-five mile per hour fastball, but the boy’s not even on a team. Every time he gets up on the mound he loses it.
But at his private school they don’t expect much from him. Danny’s half Mexican. And growing up in San Diego means everyone else knows exactly who he is before they find out he can’t speak Spanish, and before they realize his mom has blond hair and blue eyes. And that’s why he’s spending the summer with his dad’s family. To find himself, he might just have to face the demons he refuses to see right in front of his face.
Half-Mexican, half-white, Danny feels he's too brown to fit in at his snooty San Diego prep school, but when he goes to spend the summer with his sassy cousin Sofia and his father's family in old-town National City, he feels too pale. There's this pretty girl there, but she speaks very little English. Danny doesn't speak Spanish, and so he tries to talk as little as possible; and he cuts himself, because often only pain feels real to him. He's intimidated at first by the neighborhood kids, especially tough-talking Uno, who's half-African American and half-Mexican. Uno badly wants to make some money so he can get to go live with his dad. Baseball is the great equalizer: Danny is an amazing pitcher, though he lacks control. Can he pull it together to pull off hustles with Uno and help his new friend out? There's much more going on here than just baseball: some surprising realizations about fathers, family, and street violence, related in street slang (with some obscenities) and terrific dialogue. de la Pena, author of Ball Don't Lie, makes it all feel very real. This is a winner, just like Danny, in the end. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick