The Closest I've Come
Marcos Rivas wants to find love.He’s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his mom’s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who aren’t exactly the “hug it out” type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isn’t about acting tough and being macho; it’s about being true to yourself.

The Closest I've Come Details

TitleThe Closest I've Come
Author
ReleaseNov 7th, 2017
PublisherHarperTeen
ISBN-139780062488534
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

The Closest I've Come Review

  • Lilly (Lair Of Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Just finished this one & it's looking like a 4 star read for all of the positive elements Aceves weaves into a very hard life lived by our MC. Told in first person POV, The Closest I've Come is raw & uncensored giving Marcos' voice & narrative life. This is a review I will really enjoy writing :)UPDATE: Full review can also be found on Lair Of Books:https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com... PLOT The Closest I’ve come follows Marcos Rivas’ life course in a rough neighborhood /violent h Just finished this one & it's looking like a 4 star read for all of the positive elements Aceves weaves into a very hard life lived by our MC. Told in first person POV, The Closest I've Come is raw & uncensored giving Marcos' voice & narrative life. This is a review I will really enjoy writing :)UPDATE: Full review can also be found on Lair Of Books:https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com... PLOT The Closest I’ve come follows Marcos Rivas’ life course in a rough neighborhood /violent household & the motivation he finds to want to get out. For Marcos, the daily grind is made up of getting up for school & hanging out with his boys after school to avoid having to go home. Life at home isn’t easy & he is met with either his mothers silence and closed doors or her boyfriends fists. Mentally checked-out, Marcos’ mother is a alcoholic who doesn’t really have much of any relationship with him. Marcos himself would love to play the role of over protective son however, the truth is that internally, more than anything he wishes she would show any signs of caring for him. Life outside his home isn’t exactly the best either but in his community he has developed friendships that have become a safe place to turn to. Academics have never really been Marcos’ main focus & with no one in his corner rooting and or encouraging him to apply himself, he hasn’t given much thought to life after High School. He believes that Maesta is the end all be all for him and many other teens like him. We come across teachers who provide Marcos with the confidence he needs & who most of all, believe in him.At times, The Closest I’ve Come was difficult to read because of the violence Marcos experiences at the hands of his mothers boyfriend. It seemed like all the odds are set against this kid & with nothing really inspiring him & his own home being so volatile, I wondered when he would catch a break. With little to no money whatsoever, we see our MC try to earn cash the right way by cleaning parking lots but we also see one of his friends who is a straight A student go about it illegally by delivering drugs. Having myself lived in for many years what was considered a “ghetto” neighborhood, the reality is that too many bright futures are dimmed before they even get a chance to begin. There were so many tough themes in this book paired with positive reinforcement from Marcos’ educators that I found myself rooting him on in realizing that he is valued.CHARACTERS We see a tremendous amount of character growth take place within our MC Marcos which is perhaps the strongest aspect of The Closest I’ve Come. Aceves wrote Marcos’ character in first Person POV which allows the reader to really get into his thought process. From the way he views his barely existent relationship with his mother to how he handles rejection, Marcos isn’t a confidant cocky teenage boy. His physical appearance is something he is always hyper aware of because he lacks funds to buy clothes or pay for grooming. Something as simple as a haircut could boost his confidence briefly & a lot of the time he didn’t get the end result he was seeking but the effort was there. I LOVED this character & how humble he is the core, he definitely had me in his corner the whole way through. We meet some of his friends from around his neighborhood, mostly through visits to the courtyard to shoot hoops. There’s a sense of loyalty from these guys that I’ve seen for myself in neighborhoods where most don’t have it to make ends meet. I enjoyed one particular scene where one of the guys sets up shop on his stoop to cut hair for a couple of dollars, very much like a brotherhood. Although we meet many of Marcos’ acquaintances, they aren’t as fleshed out as our MC but nonetheless they serve their purpose in giving the reader a picture of what Marcos has in his life. The friends he has don’t really know how bad his home life is but I was glad to see them rise to the occasion when he really needed them.WRITING & FINAL THOUGHTS Told in first person POV, The Closest I’ve Come is raw & uncensored giving Marcos’ voice & narrative life. Own Voices, Fred Aceves the author, is Latinx & he was raised in a poor working class neighborhood just like the one he brings to life in this book. From the dialogue between Marcos and his friends in the streets to his stream of consciousness on life after High School, our MC is raw & uncut just like the world he lives in. Many who come from similar backgrounds will find this book to be very relatable. To those who don’t, The Closest I’ve Come is a insiders look to a reality that exists in our real world. Not only do we get POC representation but we also see socioeconomic diversity when Marco meets & befriends a HS student from a wealthy background. The challenges Marco has in his life are going to resonate with others & that is one of the biggest reasons I am happy to see this narrative hit the shelves.*HUGE thanks to HarperTeen, Edelweiss, and Fred Aceves for the eGalley copy of The Closest I’ve Come in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    Sped through this in a couple of hours today and loved it. This book has endless amounts of Voice and I'm so thrilled to see more coming-of-age stories centering teens of color. After reading so many great ones by WoC lately (CALLING MY NAME! THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ! I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER! to name a few from this year), I'm glad to see some coming up for boys too, as the number of YAs centering boys of color not written by Matt de la Pena, Walter Dean Myers, Bil Wright, Sped through this in a couple of hours today and loved it. This book has endless amounts of Voice and I'm so thrilled to see more coming-of-age stories centering teens of color. After reading so many great ones by WoC lately (CALLING MY NAME! THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ! I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER! to name a few from this year), I'm glad to see some coming up for boys too, as the number of YAs centering boys of color not written by Matt de la Pena, Walter Dean Myers, Bil Wright, Jason Reynolds, Lamar Giles, or Adam Silvera are frighteningly low. (And I mean, we're talking looking at the last couple of decades.) My real favorite thing about this book, though, is that for Marcos, coming of age means learning how to shed toxic masculinity (among other things), and damn if I wouldn't kill to see that in more books, period. Definitely recommend to fans of WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST. cw: racial slurs, child abuse
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineDefinitely a Young Adult book. The language and situations that indicate this begin early on.
  • Be A Rebel
    January 1, 1970
    The Closest I've Come is a remarkable book with a very authentic voice. Marco lives in the projects with a mentally absentee mom. For the past year his mother has allowed her physically abusive boyfriend to live in the apartment. She knows that Brian abuses Marco but does nothing to stop it. But Marco is more than his home life. He's a product of his neighborhood, Maesta, and his crew. Just about any urban inner-city youth reading the novel will see similarities between their circumstances in li The Closest I've Come is a remarkable book with a very authentic voice. Marco lives in the projects with a mentally absentee mom. For the past year his mother has allowed her physically abusive boyfriend to live in the apartment. She knows that Brian abuses Marco but does nothing to stop it. But Marco is more than his home life. He's a product of his neighborhood, Maesta, and his crew. Just about any urban inner-city youth reading the novel will see similarities between their circumstances in life and Marco's. As a sophomore, Marco is too young to be hired for most jobs but he needs money in order to have any kind of game with the girls. Not wanting to go the way of drug dealing, he and his friends try to interest neighbors in car washes, lot cleanings, and anything else that would give them enough money for a hair cut. Then Marco is picked for a special program at school for students who show promise but lack scholastic skills. Also in this program is Amy, a girl Marco thinks could be his girlfriend - if he worked up the courage to talk to her. The Closest I've Come can work as a novel for many readers but it will also work well as a teaching piece for book clubs. While the cover is a beautiful illustration, a more cutting edge, urban, pictorial cover would allow this novel to be appreciated by more teens.
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  • Robin Herrera
    January 1, 1970
    Really liked this book - lots of character growth, which I think is important to see. You can admit you're wrong, or that you've made mistakes, and the world doesn't end.
  • Amy Layton
    January 1, 1970
    All I can say is wow.  I've gushed to this book so many times to so many people, and I honestly hope that I convinced them to read it through my word-tumbling, fast-paced explanations.  I was so impressed with this book, and I can't wait until Aceves' second (if he's already writing one...I hope so, though)--I'll be the first in line to buy it!This book discusses lots of topics that I'm familiar with only theoretically, such as being poor, in a domestically difficult (to say the least) situation All I can say is wow.  I've gushed to this book so many times to so many people, and I honestly hope that I convinced them to read it through my word-tumbling, fast-paced explanations.  I was so impressed with this book, and I can't wait until Aceves' second (if he's already writing one...I hope so, though)--I'll be the first in line to buy it!This book discusses lots of topics that I'm familiar with only theoretically, such as being poor, in a domestically difficult (to say the least) situation, and a woman who's allowed and expected to be emotional.  However, as a sidenote, I will say that I legitimately know that I know how it feels like being a punk(-esque) teenager named Amy (but to a certain extent, to be fair).Aceves writes with an engaging voice that makes you root for Marcos at almost every turn.  And when you're not rooting for him, you end up obsessively reading so that you can read about him making a Realization.I love how this book discusses drug-dealing, friend-zoning, and friends-being-friends-ing.  It's just so good.Also, for any of you from the Pacific Northwest, our favorite Barefoot Bandit snags a mention!!  (Honestly, I called my mom about this and she hollered for a straight minute).  Though it might be a reference lost on some people, it was a really, really great one that made me laugh so hecking hard.I only wish I had better words to describe how much I loved this book to you all.  It was fun, engaging, and very Real in terms of what so many people are dealing with.  It's honestly refreshing to read about this perspective in a YA novel, and I hope this continues the trend that's slowly making its way to the surface.Review cross-listed here!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I received this as an eARC from Edelweiss. Marcos Rivas is just trying to survive. He has no money, but works hard to earn some. No one is around to protect him from his mother's physically abusive boyfriend. He can't be completely real with his good friends because their are unspoken rules in his neighborhood. With all of this running through his brain, Marcos doesn't do the best in school. When he is given the opportunity to spend more time with his crush in an after-school enrichment program, I received this as an eARC from Edelweiss. Marcos Rivas is just trying to survive. He has no money, but works hard to earn some. No one is around to protect him from his mother's physically abusive boyfriend. He can't be completely real with his good friends because their are unspoken rules in his neighborhood. With all of this running through his brain, Marcos doesn't do the best in school. When he is given the opportunity to spend more time with his crush in an after-school enrichment program, Marcos begins making strides to bettering his life. This was a realistic portrayal of inner city boys. While Marcos seems unrealistically sensitive, the slow progression to change works. This is a hopeful, yet realistic presentation of life. Reader's who love Matt de la Pena will also enjoy this book.
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  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    In this gritty teen novel, we meet Marcos, a kid who spends a lot of time on the streets hanging out with his rough and tumble crew. At home, his mom's boyfriend is abusive, often hitting him and teasing him while his mom does nothing to stop it. And at school, he's doing poorly in his classes. But one day he is chosen for a special program for teens who have potential to do better in school. It is there he encounters Zach and Amy, the love of his life. Can Marcos turn his life around in time or In this gritty teen novel, we meet Marcos, a kid who spends a lot of time on the streets hanging out with his rough and tumble crew. At home, his mom's boyfriend is abusive, often hitting him and teasing him while his mom does nothing to stop it. And at school, he's doing poorly in his classes. But one day he is chosen for a special program for teens who have potential to do better in school. It is there he encounters Zach and Amy, the love of his life. Can Marcos turn his life around in time or is he headed for bad things? I like the character of Marcos and the way he was written. My issue with this book was that there were way too many side characters and that some of them were a bit hard to sort apart, especially his friends from the streets who I did not particularly care for.
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  • Christi
    January 1, 1970
    Sad yet hopeful. Hate the cover though.
  • Priscilla
    January 1, 1970
    Nice quick read
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