The Almost Murder and Other Stories

“Pops stormed his way down the hall in a pissed-off march–trouble on the move. A quick glance at his florid, contorted face told me he was smashed. I looked down at meat, spoon, dough–anything to avoid his bleary red eyes. The stench of booze sickened me. So did my father.” In the title story of this gritty collection for teens, a young girl remembers the night her father almost killed her mother. The peace that comes when her father is put in jail is short lived though, because in order to keep him behind bars she will have to testify against him in court. Can she be strong enough to overcome her fear? What if he leaps out of his chair and attacks her too? Can she do what needs to be done in order to keep her mother and grandmother safe? In Theresa Saldana’s first collection of stories for young adults, her characters confront issues relevant to all teens, from friendship to dreams for the future. Many, though, must overcome suffering–whether physical or emotional–that impacts their sense of security and well being. A teenager survives an auto accident that has left her with multiple disfiguring scars. Will she ever be able to really live again? A young high school student prepares to leave the safety of her neighborhood where her friends have accepted her the way she is–overweight. Will her new classmates at Hunter College be able to see who she really is inside her big body? Sure to intrigue young adult readers who will identify with numerous contemporary cultural references–from reality TV shows to computers and the Internet–the engrossing stories in this collection give voice to young Latinas who, like their counterparts everywhere, yearn to be “normal.”

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