Dark DudeBook - 2008
He didn't say good-bye. He didn't leave a phone number. And he didn't plan on coming back - ever.
In Wisconsin, Rico could blend in. His light hair and lighter skin wouldn't make him the "dark dude" or the punching bag for the whole neighborhood. The Midwest is the land of milk and honey, but for Rico Fuentes, it's really a last resort. Trading Harlem for Wisconsin, though, means giving up on a big part of his identity. And when Rico no longer has to prove that he's Latino, he almost stops being one. Except he can never have an ordinary white kid's life, because there are some things that can't be left behind, that can't be cut loose or forgotten. These are the things that will be with you forever.... These are the things that will follow you a thousand miles away.
For anyone who loved The Outsiders -- and for anyone who's ever felt like one -- Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos brings to life a haunting choice and an unforgettable journey about identity, misidentity, and all that we take with us when we run away.
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Rico Fuentes is a “dark dude”. He is 100% Cuban but he has blonde hair, light skin with freckles and hazel colored eyes. Everyone in his 1960’s Harlem neighborhood thinks he’s white and that he doesn’t belong there. As if that weren’t difficult enough, his father drinks too much, his mother who is always picking fights with him and one of his best friends, Gilberto, goes away to Wisconsin on a scholarship.
Rico hates high school and is constantly nervous there. One day there is a shooting and the school is closed. Most of the other kids feel like it is a holiday but it makes Rico sick inside. Things seem to get worse as he starts to skip school and his one remaining best friend Jimmy starts using drugs more and more.
When his parents catch him skipping out on school they get ready to send him to military school in Florida. Before that can happen Rico makes a clean break and decides to hitchhike with Jimmy to Wisconsin he thinks he can fit in better, reunite with Gilberto and where all of them can escape the problems of the big city.
But is it really possible for Rico to leave his problems behind?
Grades 9-12, 439 pages
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