The Last Summer Of The Death Warriors by Franciso X. Stork
This is a book that’s not afraid of examining life’s big issues: death, revenge, family, racism, violence, and hope, just to list a few. Fortunately, the writer doesn’t let the story get bogged down in all this, but moves it along at a fairly brisk pace. The book takes the reader into the lives of two boys in crisis, brought together by a set of unusual circumstances. Pancho has just lost his last living family member, his mentally challenged sister who died under mysterious circumstances in a motel room. Since the police listed her cause of death as “undetermined” but he is sure something is fishy, he is resolved to take revenge against the man he believes had something to do with her death. Daniel, known as D.Q., has a form a cancer that seems to be ending his life, sooner rather than later. He lives at St. Anthony’s Orphanage, where his mother left him years ago when she couldn’t deal with being a single parent. He’s writing the Death Warrior Manifesto, a philosophical guide to living each day to its fullest.
Although D.Q. is not convinced that any medical treatments can help him at the point, he agrees to try an experimental treatment in Albuquerque, so his estranged mother will let him become legally emancipated and live out his short life at St. Anthony’s, where he feels at home. Pancho agrees to go with him to help out, with a secret plan to find his sister’s “killer” and exact his revenge. Even though each boy is travels for his own reasons, their journey becomes one of learning about themselves, as much as the apparent reason for the trip.
I liked this book a lot and must say it touched me emotionally the way not that many books do. Its questions about life, death and friendship stayed with me long after I finished the last page. I would recommend this to readers looking for a book with deeper meaning, readers who enjoy novels that make them think about life and death and the meaning of it all.