A haunting novel for teens that follows a high school student as he navigates the world of masculinity and violence

by Joe Jiménez

Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Bind: Trade Paperback
Pages: 132

In stock

In his junior year, seventeen-year-old Abraham learns how to drive a stick shift. He falls in love for the first time. And he has been in three fights and suspended twice, all before Thanksgiving. His grandmother and her girlfriend, the ones who have raised him, fear for his life and the hard future that awaits him. “He needs a father,” his grandmother says. “He needs a man. I can’t do this, Becky. We can’t. Not on our own.”

Soon, his Uncle Claudio—the son with a fat police file who has hurt his mother so many times—is back in the house. Determined to make a man of his nephew, he takes the boy to the gym and shows him how to use free weights and become bigger and stronger. Meanwhile, Abraham’s feelings for his friend Ophelia grow, and she tries to understand why he fights. “This will end badly,” she warns. “Nothing good can come from this.”

At school, Abraham learns about genetics, and he wonders if people are born bad. Is it in their DNA? Was he born to punch and kick and scream and fight and destroy things because of the genes in his body? Is that what happened to his father? All he knows is that his father is dead and his mother is gone. In Joe Jiménez’s striking debut novel for teens, a young man struggles with his family’s refusal to talk about the violence that has plagued it and what it means to become a man. Does a boy need a father to become a good man?

Winner, Writers’ League of Texas’ 2016 Middle Grade/Young Adult Discovery Prize
Winner of the 2017 NACCS Tejas Young Adult Fiction Book Award
Named to Kirkus Reviews‘ Best Books of 2016

Finalist, Texas Institute of Letters’ 2016 H-E-B Award for Best Young Adult Book

“Jiménez explores shades of manhood and all it entails with a deft, poetic hand.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Jiménez’s short novel (his YA debut) employs a second-person narrative style that is heavy on imagery and sensory descriptions; the result conveys simultaneously a vivid sense of immediacy and an element of reflective distance….Readers are left to ponder the intersection of manhood, identity, and destiny—and perceptive ones may notice allusions and parallels to Hamlet.”—The Horn Book, starred review

“Written in lyrical, second-person prose, the San Antonio author’s novel focuses on the haunting life and voice of 17-year-old Abraham (Abram). The evocative words and emotions within Abram cut the reader deep.”—The Dallas Morning News

“This is an absorbing tale and Jiménez vividly draws Abraham as a teen boy on the cusp of adulthood who’s trying to figure out what manhood is and whether he’s cursed never to obtain it. The descriptions of his impulse to fight and how fighting feels to him are convincing and compelling.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Joe Jiménez’s writing has astonished me and made me sit up and pay attention since the first time I heard him read his work out loud. He continues to make me yearn to hear what he has to say in a voice that is at once masculine, tender, brave and beautiful. I am his longtime fan.”—Sandra Cisneros, poet, essayist, novelist

“Joe Jiménez extiende chingazos unafraid and painfully poetic in this story of love, loss and family. I constantly felt a tension waiting for the collapse of Abram and his world; wanting to shield my eyes but not being able to. In Bloodline everything is beautiful and everything hurts, as it is whenever we chase that kind of truth and love that is always within our reach but still too far away.”—Isabel Quintero, author of Gabi, A Girl in Pieces

JOE JIMÉNEZ, a high school teacher in San Antonio, Texas, is the author of The Possibilities of Mud (Kóorima Press, 2014) and a chapbook, Silver Homeboy Flicka Illuminates the San Juan Courts at Dawn (Gertrude Press, 2012).

Click here to listen to an interview with Joe Jiménez about Bloodline.

ATOS Interest Level: Middle/Upper Grades