“El Regreso” by Norah McClintock

Orca Book Publishers, 2011; Language: Spanish

This Spanish translation of “Back” by McClintock accurately portrays how continuous thoughts of revenge, along with a mob mentality, chase away all reason and blur choices between right and wrong. It invites class discussion, and will stay with readers long after the last sentence has been read.

As told through the voices and points of view of numerous neighbors, Eden rescues Jojo’s pregnant girlfriend Shana after Jojo tries to throw her off a porch for not obeying him and getting rid of their baby as he’d demanded. Because Eden also went against his wishes, Jojo assaults and puts him into a coma. After serving only 2 of a 5-year sentence, Jojo returns home to his old neighborhood where he is expected to return to his old ways but, surprisingly, stays close to home lovingly caring for his sick mother.

Ardell, Eden’s brother, has spent the intervening years vowing revenge, and is going to make sure Jojo pays for putting his brother into a coma, especially when Eden later dies. He spends days spying on Jojo with his friends, making sure neighborhood stores don’t sell to him and preparing his move. Despite assaulting Jojo’s old girlfriend, and threatening to hurt her child, the neighbors band behind him. Only Shana believes Jojo has changed. Everyone believes Jojo needs to pay for what he did to Eden, and all manage to look the other way when Ardell makes his final move. All, that is, except for one person who chooses to make a difference.

Good for a High School Spanish class, or for High Schoolers who enjoy reading books in Spanish.


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