My Father, the Angel of Death


Realistically deals with issues relevant to young people such as bullies, young love, and fears about parental problems and making friends.

by Ray Villareal

ISBN: 978-1-55885-466-6
Publication Date: 2006
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 176
Imprint: Piñata Books
11 and up

Look Inside


Out of the fog billowing from the regions of the Netherworld steps a gigantic, ominous figure dressed in black. A white, skeleton face peers from the long, hooded cloak draping his massive frame, and in one hand, he clutches a wood-handled scythe with a razor-sharp blade. It’s … the Angel of Death, the American Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion! But one of the most popular wrestlers on Monday Night Mayhem is also Mark Baron, Jesse Baron’s father.

Jesse has just started at yet another new school, this time in San Antonio, and he dreads the moment when the other kids in his seventh-grade class learn who his father is. The reaction will be the same as it was in Omaha, Atlanta, Tampa, St. Louis, and all the other cities he has lived in. They will want to be his “friend” not because they like him, but because they are obsessed with the Angel of Death. When Jesse learns that one of the boys at school—one of his father’s biggest fans—doesn’t have a father, Jesse realizes that he has never made an effort to get to know his classmates. Could his automatic assumption that other kids are only interested in him because of his father be wrong? Is it possible to make friends, in spite of his father?

Meanwhile, his parents’ relationship is also suffering because of the Angel of Death’s celebrity status. The constant moving from city to city, his father’s extended absences while on tour with the ACW, and fans who clamor for autographs and photos even during family outings lead to continuous bickering. They have separated once before, and Jesse worries that his mother will leave his dad again.

As Jesse negotiates all the usual middle-school problems—from bullies to first love—he can’t help but wonder what his life would be like if his father weren’t a famous wrestler.

Click here to listen to an interview with Ray Villareal about his book, My Father, the Angel of Death.