Sixteen-year-old Jesse Baron feels like he’s living his life on the sidelines. He’s on the varsity football team, but only because it’s what his dad wants him to do. And the girl he used to go out with is dating the popular quarterback. Jesse is fed up with being cut down and dismissed, whether by the coach or his friends. If only he was bigger, tougher and more athletic, like his dad.
Those things didn’t matter to Jesse’s mom. She left his father, a professional wrestler, because of his demanding career. But it’s through his dad that Jesse meets TJ Masters, a brash, new wrestling talent who’s over 21, drives a fast car and is more than willing to show Jesse a good time. And unlike his dad, TJ makes Jesse feel tough and confident; he even offers to help Jesse bulk up. But will Jesse listen to his family and friends when they warn him about hanging out with someone who’s often reckless and irresponsible?
In this stand-alone sequel to his acclaimed debut novel My Father, the Angel of Death , Ray Villareal touches on serious themes such as drinking and driving, lying to loved ones and even steroid use. Author and educator Villareal once again writes a compelling novel for teens that explores the impact of making poor choices and choosing the right friends.
“A San Antonio teenager hooks up with a fast-living pro wrestler and discovers the downside of hanging out with risky companions in this sequel to My Father, the Angel of Death.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This stand-alone sequel to Villareal’s earlier novel, My Father, the Angel of Death (2006), tells a taut and believable story about a young man’s coming-of-age and the choices he must make. The material about professional wrestling will be of special interest to boy readers.”—Booklist
“Written in an accessible, engaging voice, Body Slammed! is a perfect title for young men, especially reluctant readers or avid sports fans.”—The Monitor
RAY VILLAREAL is the author of five novels for young adults that capture the angst of adolescent life: Body Slammed! (Piñata Books, 2012), Don’t Call Me Hero (Piñata Books, 2011), Who’s Buried in the Garden? (Piñata Books, 2009), winner of LAUSD’s Westchester Fiction Award, Alamo Wars (Piñata Books, 2008), and My Father, the Angel of Death (Piñata Books, 2006), which was nominated to the 2008-2009 Lone Star Reading List and named to The New York Public Library’s 2007 Books for the Teen Age. His latest novel, On the Other Side of the Bridge, was published by Piñata Books in October 2014. Villareal worked for 30 years as a teacher and an instructional reading coach with the Dallas Independent School District, and his knowledge of kids is obvious in his characters’ dialogue and the problems they deal with. As Kirkus Reviews said in its review of Who’s Buried in the Garden?: “a solid glimpse at seventh-grade life from a writer who understands the age—biography reports, friendships made and lost, crushes, misbehavior and, sometimes, quiet heroism.” He graduated in 1981 from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Bilingual Education. In 1991, he completed his Master of Liberal Arts from the same university. He lives with his family in Dallas, Texas.
ATOS Interest Level: Middle Grades
Category: Young Adult