In the tradition of Jason Reynolds and Matt de la Peña, this heartbreaking, no-holds-barred debut novel told from three points of view explores how difficult it is to make it in life when you—your life, brown lives—don’t matter.
“There are moments when a story shakes you. When it fills you with a strange combination of razor blade and feather—a concoction that simultaneously tickles and slices inside. Barely Missing Everything is one of those stories, and Mendez, a gifted storyteller with a distinct voice, is sure to bring a quake to the literary landscape.”
~ Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author of Long Way Down
“Matt Mendez writes on target about people who are barely surviving in an America all too familiar to those who live on the borderlands. I thank him for making room for them on the pages of American literature. He has done so with respect, honor, and deep love.”
~Sandra Cisneros, American Book Award winner and author of The House on Mango Street
“Mendez offers enticing glimpses of Mexican-American life, and he has an uncanny ability to capture the aimless bluster of young boys posturing at confidence, behaving rashly to mask feeling insecure…we can almost feel the existential claustrophobia of adolescence.” Mj Franklin, The New York Times, Book Review
“In this novel with a deep sense of place and realistic dialogue, characters who are vivid and fallible add deep psychological meaning to a heart-wrenching story. At once accessible and artful, this is an important book about Mexican teens holding onto hope and friendship in the midst of alcoholism, poverty, prejudice, and despair.”
~ Kirkus, Starred Review
Matt Mendez’s YA debut is a heart-wrenching, perceptive story about friendship and growing up Hispanic in El Paso, Texas. Mendez’s characters feel tremendously real; their high hopes and crushing disappointments burrowed into our heart. We were hooked on this book from the first chapter to the last page.
“This searing portrait of two Mexican-American families conveys the experiences of a group that is underrepresented in YA fiction. Juan, a high school senior living in El Paso, knows that his only hope for a future is basketball…Mendez brings Juan and his world to life with vivid, honest characters and events that shine a light on what it can mean to be Mexican-American and poor in America.”
~ Publishers Weekly
Mendez minces no words as he presents issues that are all too real for many Latin American communities. . . . Mendez’s attention to raw detail in plot and diction is both painful and illuminating. With its shades of social justice, this will appeal to readers of Matt de la Peña and Jason Reynolds.
In this gut-wrenching novel…told in three alternating voices, characters are authentically realized through candid dialogue…This novel would be a good fit for highly diversified libraries and in particular those libraries with a large Latina/o population. Recommended.
~ Tena Natale Litherland, School Library Connection