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My Books

Useful Fools (Dutton Children’s Books, 2007):

Two teens battle terrorism, poverty and racism in this gritty tale of love and war, Useful Fools (Dutton 2007). Alonso, a dirt-poor Peruvian teenager, is ambitious and idealistic, but he’s also crazy about Rosa, the daughter of the doctor who runs a clinic in Alonso’s slum. When terrorists murder Alonso’s mother, he and Rosa are torn apart. Alonso becomes a guerrilla while Rosa breaks from her rich friends and dives into the slum to save what’s left of Alonso’s family.

Awards and Recognition for Useful Fools:

  • Booklist Top Ten First Novels for Youth
  • Junior Library Guild Premier Selection
  • Booklist Editor’s Choice
  • New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
  • A National Council for Social Studies Notable Trade Book

What critics say about Useful Fools:

Booklist calls it “groundbreaking” in a starred review.
Kirkus calls it “a compelling, timely story.”
Kliatt calls it a “graphic” story of “war and violence . . . and young love” and gave it a starred review.
School Library Journal calls it a “moving coming of age novel.”
Publishers Weekly praises the book’s “poetic language.”

Purchase Useful Fools:

at your local independent bookstore


Stray Dogs

What if you got straight A’s while your brother cornered your school’s marijuana market? What if you were Central High’s coolest pothead but your sister was its nerdiest nerd? Add a simmering family tragedy, an artistic Vietnam vet, and a gigantic stray dog and you have life as Jane and Vincent Browne are living it in suburban New Jersey in America’s bicentennial year.


What if, right before you died, you got one last chance to make your screwed-up life count for something? Misfit eighth grader Carolina Davies wakes from a deadly accident into a world whose furred and fanged inhabitants worship her – and the terrifying wizards around her.