Read The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork Online


When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short: If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assigned to help D.Q., whose brain cancer has slowed neither his spirit nor his mouth. D.Q. tells Pancho all about his "Death Warrior's Manifesto," which will help him to live out his last days fWhen Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short: If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assigned to help D.Q., whose brain cancer has slowed neither his spirit nor his mouth. D.Q. tells Pancho all about his "Death Warrior's Manifesto," which will help him to live out his last days fully--ideally, he says, with the love of the beautiful Marisol. As Pancho tracks down his sister's murderer, he finds himself falling under the influence of D.Q. and Marisol, who is everything D.Q. said she would be;and he is inexorably drawn to a decision: to honor his sister and her death, or embrace the way of the Death Warrior and choose life. Nuanced in its characters and surprising in its plot developments--both soulful and funny--Last Summer is a buddy novel of the highest kind: the story of a friendship that helps two young men become all they can be....

Title : The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780545151337
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 344 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors Reviews

  • Michael Justine
    2019-03-15 20:46

    Update: November 29 2016I'll round this up to 5 stars. The fact that all the wonderful scenes in the story are still with me, 4 months after I've read it says a lot about how good the book is.I can only hope Stork's next works can match or surpass what he did here and in The Memory of Light.Update: October 25 2016I still can't forget about this book . . . There's something about the characters and the story that just gets me emotional every time I recall everything that happened. I think I should re-read this again, and see if my rating should go up. This is definitely a memorable book that people should try.Original Review:"I'm just human. Our task is to try. Being a death warrior is all in the trying."4.5 starsI'm still uncertain with my final rating, but I'll leave it at this. The Last Summer of the Death Warriors has classic stork written all over it - great characters, unique Mexican atmosphere, and a signature flair that makes his books so memorable and distinct from other YA books out there. I loved Pancho and Daniel's coming of age story and it was truly touching seeing them grow as individuals.I also like how the cancer sub-plot was handled. It was used in a very tactile way, that veered far from other mainstream works that use the same trope. Daniel wasn't used as a plot device for melodrama, but he felt real to me. And he was my favorite character, because of how much he reminds me of my university friend. Daniel is the philosophical guy with big statements, yet he doesn't feel like a caricature when compared to Hazel or Gus from The Fault in Our Stars. He's a sophisticated person who churns out quirky remarks, but he makes jokes and expresses very human traits like a regular teenage guy would. Once again, Stork manages to amaze me with his characters. First, it was the goody two-shoes guy, Gabriel, and now the very philosophical yet funny D.Q. He really knows how to do characterization like a pro.However, I don't think this book was as good as his latest offering (The Memory of Light). The romance between the protagonist and the girl, wasn't that skillfully constructed. The third-person certainly obscured feelings that would've otherwise been more apparent, if it was in Pancho's first person pov. There was barely any build-up in the romance, so I was surprised when the narrator suddenly said he liked her and she liked her too. I'm like "how did you get there after such brief interactions?" It could've certainly been handled better.But still, The Last Summer of the Death Warriors is a top-tier contemporary YA novel. It's a quality read and definitely something you should try if you're looking for a unique take on cancer books and coming of age stories. Despite all the flaws I've listed, I think they are nothing compared to the book's brilliance. It's the kind of book that stays with you for quite some time.

  • Maggie Stiefvater
    2019-02-25 20:54

    I just finished reading Francisco X. Stork’s latest, THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS, and I think I’m going to have a hard time reviewing it. I know why I liked it so well, and it’s the same reason why I liked his last novel (MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD). I’m just not certain it’s the most convincing-sounding reason for me to love a novel. It makes for a review consisting of mostly emotion and precious little fact. But I think I’m going to say it anyway.Basically, it’s this: both of Stork’s novels leave me feeling convinced of the human race’s decency. I could tell you what DEATH WARRIORS was about, but it’s one of those books that isn’t really about its plot summary (sulky boy intent on avenging his sister’s death meets a boy with cancer who changes his life). At best, it sounds maudlin. At worst, it sounds bleedingly depressing. The actual novel is neither of those things. Instead, it’s a novel about anger and identity -- the identity others give us, the identities we wear, and our actual identities that we might never find. It’s also about big abstract words like love and faith and grief. All things that are very unhelpful to throw around in a review, but Stork’s books seem to encourage that sort of thinking. It’s hard to feel unchanged after you close the cover.Which is another reason why I love his books. They make you bigger inside after reading them. These people, these teens from all walks of life (and even without reading Stork’s bio, I believe in them) -- they feel real. Every bit of kindness in this novel is fought for, every spiritual (and I mean spiritual in the very broadest sense) milestone is bled for (sometimes literally), and for every moment where you sigh with the perfection of it, there are ten where you wince at the awkwardness and the painfulness and the realness of it. As with all novels, I had some issues with it, but they didn’t end up being enough to take away from my ultimate cheerfulness about this book. The big one seems silly: I missed dialog tags. There were a lot of conversations where the speakers were not delineated and I got lost several times. Also, Pancho, the prickly narrator, takes some getting used to, but that’s the point. Neither were enough of a speed bump to stop me, however. It took me a year to read this book, even after I’d gotten an advanced review copy and also bought myself a hardcover while recalling the warm-fuzzy of reading MARCELO. I just was so afraid to read his next offering, thinking that the same, nameless magic that caught me in MARCELO couldn’t possibly be duplicated. But DEATH WARRIORS captures that same sense: that genuine kindness that you wish was real. It’s an incredibly spiritual book, a spirituality that defies labels. Highly recommended.

  • Ken
    2019-03-04 16:27

    So you want to be a Death Warrior? First you’ll have to fully accept your opponent – you know, the hooded guy with the rusting scythe – even if you’re seventeen-years-old and still a virgin, for chrissakes. Then you’ll have to repeat after me: “We’re all dying, even if we don’t happen to have brain cancer at the moment.” Finally, you’ll need your weapons. Love and time. Can’t get enough of those for the daily wars, I’ll tell you. Tempus fugit ain’t the beginning of it when you finally are one with your body’s slow (or fast) appointment with Death.This character-driven book is a find. The protagonist, Pancho, is the angry young man in spades. His father just died, and now his mentally-handicapped sister has been murdered by some man in a motel room (or so Pancho is convinced, though the police say “natural causes”). Pancho, a pugilist who loves to punch and be punched, becomes a boy on a mission. Yep. Vigilantism. He traces the killer down to Albuquerque (not far from the orphanage where he is now “stuck” thanks to the law) and vows to murder this man in cold blood.Complication: Pancho is assigned the job of assisting Daniel Quentin (D.Q.) at the orphanage. D.Q. is the kid with brain cancer, the kid writing the manifesto of the Death Warriors, and the kid with the annoying ability to sniff out Pancho’s murderous goal. Pancho helps D.Q. begrudgingly and refuses to let himself become emotionally involved. D.Q.? He couldn’t care less. He’s as unsentimental as the next guy about his impending death. What’s more, he’s ready, willing, and able to trade insults and teenage-boy humor with Pancho. Francisco X. Stork, the author, avoids anything corny, in other words. Thank God! And the Reaper, for that matter!But wait, there are complications here. First, Pancho has this bad habit of mixing it up with streetlife in Albuquerque when he accompanies D.Q. to the children’s hospital there. While most of us avoid eye contact with, say, gang members, Pancho just eats that stuff up (with all of its consequences). The book has some great scenes of violence. Hold-on- to-your-page scenes. Then there’s the romantic complication. D.Q. has this dream girl named Marisol and he’s convinced she might agree to fall in love (and lust) with a boy dying of cancer. Unfortunately, Pancho meets an opponent that’s less easy to TKO when he starts to fall for Marisol, too. He fights it, though. Boy, does he fight it.Lots of philosophy and fight to this book, and tons of character. Good, gritty realism that avoids the trap of sentimentality. Pancho hurdles toward his destiny with this guy who murdered his sister while D.Q. slips toward his destiny with premature death. But Death (and Fate) can be funny and Fate has a penchant for the unexpected. The reader knows that, and Stork KNOWS the reader knows that.Finally, I loved the ending (and endings are usually annoying or inept). It’s unflinching, realistic, and appropriate in my mind. Trouble is, I didn’t want to say goodbye to these guys. Pancho, D.Q., and Marisol are about the best odd triangle I’ve come across in a YA book in a long time. But you don’t have to be a kid to love the book. Honest. Try it when it releases (March 2010). Or better yet, get your lucky hands on an ARC like me.

  • Milly
    2019-03-18 23:41

    (Audible Review)Though I love Francisco X. Stork and the last book I read from him (Marcelo and the Real World) I wasn't as excited to read his newest book. After reading the book jacket for The Last Summer of The Death Warriors, I was reluctant to read it during the holiday season thinking it would be another downer, a definite no-no for me this time of the year. But after reading Maggie Stiefvater's review of it, I thought of giving it another chance. And good thing I did because it delivered the emotions and feelings I'm looking for this time of the year: hope and that happy feeling you get after watching a feel-good movie. I've been trying to figure out myself what worked so well for this book and why I loved it so. Francisco Stork has a way of tugging at your thoughts and searing in these characters in your mind long after you're done reading the book. I found myself wishing courage and forgiveness into Pancho so he could forget about the anger and his vengeful thoughts towards the person who killed his cognitively-delayed older sister. Page after page, I wished it would be the day Pancho (our 17-year old male protagonist) would wake up and realize that there's more to life than looking forward to killing a murderer and be okay with rotting in prison for the rest of his life for it. Chapter after chapter, I kept hoping that Pancho would come to realize that he too deserves to be happy, that he deserved to receive good things in his life. But because of the tragedies that has befallen him one after the other, first the death of his father and now the death of his sister, Pancho ends up feeling that nothing good can ever happen to him. That's not til he meets D.Q.D.Q. or Daniel Quentin, is the wise and terminally-ill teenager Pancho meets at St. Anthony's Home. D.Q. quickly takes Pancho into his wing and somehow manages to have Pancho become his companion and helper as he goes through chemotherapy. It is through D.Q. that Pancho finds himself and finally realizes that he too could have good things happen to him, that he too could go to college, that he too could be loved, that he too should have the courage to love back and to not be afraid when that someone leaves...that he, Pancho, could have hope. That was D.Q. wish for Pancho, to have HOPE. D.Q. I find in the book to be the most admirable character of all. He shows us the true meaning of courage and kindness. Though physically the weakest, D.Q. is the strongest emotionally and spiritually in this book. By his actions, he was able to tear the walls of anger that Pancho has put up around him. D.Q. was able to inspire hope and the will to live in Pancho. And through Pancho, D.Q., also discovered himself and finally could live with courage and accept death when it comes. The book had the power to put you in these characters' shoes and to think and live like they do, to suck the marrow out of life and live like you're dying: To be a Death Warrior! Though it was an emotional and a thought-provoking read, reading it didn't feel taxing but rather a most gratifying read especially in the end. Stork's so effective in making his characters come alive and appear so real, perhaps because he too lived the lives of these characters at that age. Just like MARCELO, this book is another masterpiece. I highly recommend!

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-03-19 17:30

    The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, Francisco X. Stork

  • Abby
    2019-03-02 22:31

    Another great ya realistic fiction/coming-of-age story from Stork, author of the great "Marcelo in the Real World." Strangely enough, this is the second teen book I've read in recent months that pays homage to "Don Quixote" and in which the teen character based on Don Quixote is dying from a neurodegenerative condition (Libba Bray's "Going Bovine" was the other one). Unlike Bray's book (which I found incredibly maudlin and poorly written), Stork tackles heavy issues like confronting death as a young person, revenge, jealousy, racism and classism with subtley and compassion. Another thing I liked about this story was that it was told from the perspective of the Sancho Panza figure (in this case, an orphaned Mexican-American teen named Pancho Sanchez), and he's a smart, angry, and conflicted teen rather than a simple-minded buffoon (as Sancho Panza & his literary heirs tend to be portrayed). Recommended for teen and adult readers who like well-drawn characters confronting difficult dilemmas in realistic, contemporary settings.

  • xtina
    2019-02-25 21:29

    Wow. It has been a long time since I've come across a YA book with as much depth as this one. Frankly, it completely floored me.The Last Summer of the Death Warriors is a modern day adaptation of Cervantes' Don Quixote. But you don't need to be at all familiar with that work in order to appreciate this novel.Pancho is a robust young man (17 yrs old), driven by the desire to avenge the murder of his sister. D.Q. is also 17, but seems ageless, wise beyond his years, and is dying of cancer. On the surface they have nothing in common: Pancho is all brute strength and bitterness; D.Q. is passionate, optimistic, eerily intelligent, and desperate to live life to its fullest, even though (or perhaps because) he doesn't have much time left. They meet in an orphanage, and D.Q., sensing something special about Pancho, immediately recruits him to be a Death Warrior. What is a Death Warrior? The concept is inspired by Henry David Thoreau's famous declaration in Walden, "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." According to the Death Warrior Manifesto that D.Q. has been writing,Anyone can be a Death Warrior, not just someone who is terminally ill. A Death Warrior accepts death and makes a commitment to live a certain way, whether it be for one year or thirty years...Once you accept that life will end, you can become a Death Warrior by choosing to love life at all times and in all circumstances. You choose to love life by loving.I finished the book last night (eyes still red this morning from the weeping...happy weeping as well as sad weeping), and I can already tell this is going to be a book that stays with me for a long that I will be harassing friends and family to read asap so I have someone to discuss it with. The philosophy of the Death Warrior is simple but powerful. Who hasn't felt the haunting sense that we're wasting the limited time we have on this planet? It's easy to ignore that sensation and just carry on with our daily routine...but The Last Summer of the Death Warriors gives you a righteous sense of shame for doing so, without being preachy. No small feat.The book has a bit of everything: action, romance, poignancy, humor, villains, heroes, life philosophy etc. Come to think of it, the only thing it's lacking is vampires. Just kidding!READ IT!!!!

  • Kate
    2019-03-02 20:50

    How exactly does an author follow up on a title as incredible as MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD? After reading an ARC of Francisco X. Stork's THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS, I think I've found the answer. It's a different book -- different in voice, different in setting and mood -- but it has that same magical something that breathes life into the characters so that the people who inhabit these pages -- Pancho and D.Q. and Marisol -- feel every bit as real and vivid as Marcelo did in Stork's first book.Without giving too much away, THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS is about Pancho, an angry young man who's lost his family, DQ, the cancer patient who becomes his friend (and Pancho's not happy about it at first), the girl they both love, and the journey we all take in deciding how to live the time we're given on this earth. It's about love and friendship, revenge and choices, and it's a beautiful, beautiful book.(Reviewed from an ARC from NCTE, available in March 2010)

  • Donalyn
    2019-02-27 21:55

    I really liked this book until the end, when the climax of the story seemed abrupt and unsatisfying. Pancho's conflict over the death of his sister seemed resolved too neatly and other conflicts in the story were left open at the end.I do enjoy Franciso X. Stork's writing, though, and I will look for more books from him in the future.

  • Marija
    2019-03-16 19:39

    I respect the themes Francisco X. Stork explores in this novel, namely that this book is a modern day version of the film Boys Town, the story of Father Flanagan and those boys, and I especially liked the concept of the death warriors…feeling gratitude and loving life at all times and in all circumstances, fighting to experience the “marrow of life”—carpe diem. I also truly loved D.Q. But, there’s one technical aspect of this novel that just doesn’t really work for me, and unfortunately, it happens to be the basic foundation of the book: the execution of Pancho’s story.The book’s told in third person, but from Pancho’s point of view. The narrator constantly reinforces the idea that at seventeen, Pancho’s not very academically gifted. It’s stated that it took Pancho nearly a year to read one book. He misinterprets various statements told to him in conversation. When Pancho tries to reply, he gets the words wrong. For instance, he interprets words like “context” as “contest,” “hunk” as “honk,” and has no idea what the word “aviary” means. And there’re many more examples like this throughout the novel. In some instances, he’s even corrected by an eight-year old girl. Even though he’s essentially our main protagonist, he’s not very verbose, only offering brief responses to questions, or completely ignoring the various people who are addressing him. He’s also described as being very standoffish—the kind of person who looks like he’s always trying to pick a fight with you. Yet, for some inexplicable reason people like him, and even fall in love with him….Yet, at times the narrator seems to forget these facts. The narrator, when he describes Pancho, often projects complex thoughts and feelings onto this character that juxtapose the other image the narrator is also constantly trying to reinforce throughout the book. Reinforcing the negative elements—Pancho’s impulsive drive for revenge, his standoffish nature, his lack of understanding—while at the same time accentuating the positive just doesn’t work here. One cancels the other out, leaving the reader confused as to what to believe and to make of this character. At times, it almost seems like Stork forgot he was writing about Pancho, accidentally slipping into D.Q.’s perspective. Further evidence to support this is the epilogue, which contains the journal entry Pancho writes to his sister. When the narrator describes Pancho writing, he states that Pancho writes slowly, but it doesn’t take him very much effort. Another incongruous image. When the entry's finally reproduced, apart from three spelling errors and lack of comma usage, it’s very articulate—not a piece of writing you’d really expect coming from a boy who has difficulty reading and conversing with others. Typically writing is harder for someone who has troubles with literacy. I just don’t understand why the narrator had to keep reminding the reader of this particular aspect of Pancho’s character? Stork seems to be going against convention through his characterization of Pancho. And because of this, the story’s not very believable.Apart from that, this is an interesting book. However I almost wish Stork told the story from D.Q.’s point of view rather than Pancho’s. Also, the ending’s not very conclusive, with no real resolution as to what will happen next for D.Q., his mother, Pancho and Marisol. Ultimately, I think the book’s OK, but I also believe it could have been so much better.

  • Eva Mitnick
    2019-02-24 00:51

    What do people see when they look at you? Do different people see different things? Do any of them see the "real" you? Can anyone see a complete picture? Is there a "real" you at all, and how do you find out what it is?These are the sorts of questions that arose as I read this excellent coming-of-age novel. Pancho is a New Mexico teenager to whom several awful things have happened all at once - his dad died in an accident, his older "simple" sister died in what Pancho considers to be suspicious and sordid circumstances, and he has not been allowed to stay in his family's trailer, being deposited instead at an orphanage run by Father Concha.I was certain that Father Concha would be a pivotal character, but instead this story is about how Pancho's quest to get revenge for his sister's death gets entwined with the need of fellow "orphan" (although not really - his mother is very much alive) D.Q. to live out what days remain to him as a "death warrior," sucking marrow out of the bones of life before he dies of cancer.Pancho sees his life - and himself - as empty and meaningless. All he cares about at first is getting revenge, and then he figures he'll get sent to jail, where he'll be killed. And that's fine with him. But D.Q. sees something else in Pancho the moment he claps eyes on him - a fellow death warrior and, more importantly, a potential friend. And although Pancho doesn't understand or particularly like this odd, brainy, desperately ill white guy, there's no denying that D.Q. has some uncanny insight. While other folks see all kinds of things in Pancho - tough guys see a fellow tough guy looking for a fight, little kids see someone to play with, talk to, and trust, and a certain girl sees someone she could fall in love with - D.Q. seems to see all of Pancho all at once.It's how Pancho learns how to see - and understand - himself as well as the people around him that is the heart of this story. The reader has to get to know Pancho, and he doesn't make it easy, but by the end of the book we know and appreciate him as much as D.Q. does. Pancho is the kind of rich and completely real character that is hard to part with at the end of a story - I'd like to find out what he's doing in 5 years, and in 10.Highly recommended for ages 13 and up. By the way, this is the third absolutely excellent coming-of-age story I've read recently that features a teenage boy, after The Cardturner and As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth. Very refreshing trend.

  • Jeremy
    2019-03-08 18:40

    No one else in YA fiction is doing what Francisco X. Stork is doing right now. Perhaps no one else can! And that is writing beautiful coming-of-age novels, that involve teens who deal with their immediate personal struggles, by grappling with the eternal and the universal. In "Death Warriors", Stork's terminally-ill character D.Q., explains that the immediate and the eternal are one in the same: "Being a part of that other dimension is like being with Marisol. We feel as if everything matters. We don't want the moment to end. We're happy and grateful just to be with her, we don't ask for anything more what she gives us. We love her, but we are content to love someone else. Can you imagine that?...That love and peace, that's what it feels like to live in the other dimension."The cool thing about "Death Warriors" is that aside from the tender soulfulness of the story, it actually has some serious male appeal: [A] The badass title and [B]A handful of showstopping scenes that felt like climactic moments in a Spaghetti Western movie. Pancho had the personality of a stoic, old west gunslinger. I mean, I didn't read this book for the knife fights, or the boxing matches, but I certainly didn't hold those scenes against Stork!I mention that, because I find it hard to sell other people on Stork's books. If I told one of my friends they just HAD to read this spiritual teen novel, loosely patterned around the story of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, they would laugh in my face, and perhaps even ask me who Don Quixote was. But maybe if I say that it's about Pancho, an orphaned teenager, driven by vengeance, whose fate intertwines with a terminally ill Death Warrior, they would be intrigued. Because both versions of the story are true, believe it or not.That being said, I'm bewildered I even need to make that kind of sales pitch! I don't get why literary wish fulfillment is so much more interesting than wrestling with the most important questions you will ever answer in your life. I almost feel bad for people who see things that way.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-20 21:40

    When I read Marcelo in the Real World, I messed up and called this book its sequel. The books look similar and probably had the same designer, but aren't related.Pancho is an angry teenager forced to move into an orphanage because his parents are dead and his older sister was just possibly murdered. He's obsessed with finding the man who caused her death, mainly because she was a mentally challenged woman who couldn't defend herself. But Pancho is forced into an almost servant relationship with D.Q., a boy in a wheelchair with a type of cancer. The two form a rare friendship that survives love and heartache, chemotherapy, bipolar mothers, and shamans.There were moments where I felt like I was reading a John Green novel, but then I'd be bored with some of the philosophy talk. In a recent issue of Booklist magazine, Gillian Engberg compiled a list of read-a-likes for Printz Award winners. For the 2010 winner Going Bovine, she listed this book as a read-a-like. I'm not sure why I didn't notice the similarities, but she's right! The roadtrip, the disease, the friendships--eerily similar!My fav quote from page 330 of the Advanced Reading Copy:"She reached up and kissed him on the lips. It was a small kiss. It lasted only two or three seconds, just long enough for him to taste the future."wow

  • Lisa Mandina
    2019-03-17 19:42

    This is one of the books I read to help with selecting next year's Gateway Award nominees. I did really enjoy it. Didn't think I would, again, like many of the titles on the list this year, it is not my normal type of book. But I really liked the story, and got involved with the characters. At first I was irritated with the main character, Pancho, as he just didn't want to connect with anyone. Just pushed everyone away in his search for vengeance for his sister's death. I totally understood though, his need for vengeance. I can feel in the same situation that I would probably think the same way. I liked the D.Q. character, and again, I can see feeling the same way he did about his sickness and how he wanted to deal with it. I did feel it was a bit predictable with how the whole relationship with Marisol turned out. Obviously it wasn't a Nicholas Sparks type of book where she would fall in love with the terminally ill patient. But once it said something about how she would feel about Pancho, I knew at some point she would tell D.Q., and he would be upset, which he was. But I do like how he realized that was wrong, and how he came around to understand it. Overall, I think it would be a good read for kids on all sides. Even the way the vengeance portion turns out was a good, realistic seeming way, with a bit of a lesson in it.

  • Kris Springer
    2019-03-14 16:43

    I enjoyed Marcelo in the Real World but really admire this book. It's so good it seems like it was easy to write, which means it was probably really really hard. Stork writes small moments & big moments equally well--capturing dialogue and expressions and humor. Stork created very real characters in Pancho and DQ, and their dialogue and actions are completely believable and worth reading about. This is a book that's very similar to Going Bovine by Bray--another book I love--about the meaning of life & what it means to fight death and love life. Going Bovine is bigger than life--operatic--so the style of the 2 books is completely different--probably 180 degrees--but they are thematic brothers. I appreciated the quietness of this book--it was especially true to Pancho's nature. I appreciate the characters in Stork's books because there is more there than meets the eye--and I think that's a secret that we all have to learn--that all of us has stuff going on beneath the surface--and we need to understand that and gain compassion. And also gain compassion for ourselves--Pancho gains that in this book--and an understanding of his talents. Big fan of Stork's and hoping for another book in a year or so. Keep 'em coming!

  • Kim Zarins
    2019-03-14 16:28

    Wow, I'd been holding off on this book for some reason, and I'm so glad I finally could enjoy it on audio book. Basically, I started cleaning my office compulsively to justify listening to a terrific story well told. If you liked MARCELO for its focus on nuanced characters who have to make difficult choices, you'll definitely love this book. This is the kind of book that makes me reaffirm my faith in young adult literature. It's uplifting and life-affirming without being fake. That's not easy to do. In fact, being fake is one of the themes of the book (symbolized in a painting that the characters encounter midway--maybe contrast that use of art with that of Catherine in Lord's RULES for a good discussion on how we represent other people for our own sakes), and such inauthentic responses are resisted when detected.

  • Laurie
    2019-03-14 21:29

    I really enjoyed Stork's Marcello in the Real World and thought I would give another of his books a try. I was not disappointed. Although the premise is pretty sad, the journey the characters take is gripping and interesting. DJ is battling cancer, and Pancho just lost his family. They cross path's in an orphanage, and that is where the story begins. Together, this unlikely pair go through a last chemo trial for DJ, and a search for the man who was with Pancho's sister when she died. Stork has a beautiful way of leading the reader through his stories, and he masterfully brings his characters to life. I really felt like I could picture both DJ and Pancho as I read. I recommend this book to all readers, not just teen readers.

  • Kara Belden
    2019-03-11 22:48

    I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. It was at the bottom of the stack of books on my nightstand, and I randomly read a chapter one night. After that, I kept wanting to read it over the others I had already started. Though nothing in the book was necessarily life-changing or magical, I do think that the characters are going to linger with me for awhile. I actually really appreciate and enjoy the fact that nothing was too over the top. The story was realistic and believable. There was only one small part that seemed unnecessary, out of place, and unrealistic. I'm excited to recommend this book to a few specific students.

    2019-03-15 23:45

    I just finished reading The Last Summer of Death Warriors, and I did not like it at the very beginning but as I pass chapters the book became more interesting. It present different characters but the main two are D.Q and Pancho. Pancho's father had die of cancer and his sister was murder in a hotel. D.Q has cancer and everyone think that he is planing his death in a journal, but what he really does is wanted to survive and bit cancer. They both felt like falling in love with the same girl name marisol, but D.Q and Pancho were able to build a real friendship.

  • Ellen
    2019-03-09 00:36

    I really wanted to like this book since I enjoyed Marcelo in the Real World and this book got great reviews......However, this one just didn't ring true for me. I cannot imagine any kid talking the way D.Q. did or even the smartest teen being so worldly wise. The situations are forced and the ending just didn't work. Also, it was way too didactic to be appealing to any teen! I can't imagine any teen to whom I could recommend this book. Very disappointing.

  • Heather
    2019-02-20 18:56

    Pancho's days are numbered. He has just arrived at the orphanage, after his sisters death but knows he won't stay long, as he plans to murder the man that killed his sister. But as he is paired to accompany DQ, a teenager at the orphanage with terminal brain cancer, he begins to question the anger that is consuming him. DQ and the others he meets along his quest will teach him the true meaning of becoming a Death Warrior.

  • Jamie
    2019-02-21 21:50

    Stork has got to be one of the more unique YA writers today. This book couldn't be more different than Marcelo. His characters are so individual. I actually set the book down with about 40 pages to go so I could savor the ending. Too bad about the preachy speech towards the end.

  • First Second Books
    2019-02-28 00:36

    Stork writes excellent people who are full of life – even if they’re about to die. I’m beginning to think that his cover designer is obsessed with trees, though – not a bad thing, but puzzling!

  • Rachel Seigel
    2019-03-09 19:42

    A complex and beautiful book about life and how we choose to live it.

  • Kristen Chandler
    2019-03-11 00:52

    I loved this book. It's a story that sounds like a downer, but it's one of those precious books that is so well written, that I couldn't stop reading, no matter where the story took me.

  • elissa
    2019-03-01 23:49

    I love, love, love Stork! I read this slowly, so I could savor it. Not quite as good as last year's MARCELO, but still excellent! 4 1/2 stars.

  • Natalie
    2019-02-19 20:35

    It can be a struggle to get invested in Stork's work, but he has a beautiful way with imagery and world-construction.

  • Daniel Adam Garwood
    2019-02-25 18:34

    Pancho Sanchez is a seventeen-year-old Hispanic youth, born to Mexican parents in the City of Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S.A. His mother died when he was five years old, after which he was raised by his father and elder sister, Rosa. When Pancho was sixteen, his father was crushed to death at work. Although Rosa had the mental age of a ten-year-old, she found gainful employment as a waitress. She and Pancho continued to live in their trailer for three months after their father’s death, until Rosa was found dead in a motel room. Pancho is convinced that his sister was murdered by her secret boyfriend, and vows to revenge her death. We meet Pancho as he arrives at St. Anthony’s Home, a Catholic orphanage in Las Cruces, where the State says he must stay until he reaches eighteen. Also resident at St. Tony’s is D.Q. (Daniel Quentin), a seventeen-year-old Anglo wheelchair user living with highly aggressive and difficult to treat tumours at the base of his brain. D.Q.’s father died seven years ago. His mother became mentally ill and took D.Q. to St. Tony’s. His mother got well, resumed her career as an artist and married a successful lawyer. Three years ago, the mother wanted D.Q. to live with her and his step-father permanently, but D.Q. refused. At D.Q.’s request, Pancho is offered a small wage in return for being his companion. D.Q. agrees to go to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for treatment. Pancho agrees to accompany him, as that’s where Rosa’s secret boyfriend lives. D.Q.’s mother is unyielding in her attempts to get D.Q. back in her life, and D.Q. is keen to see Marisol, a care assistant at an Alburquerque respite home, with whom he fell in love during a previous visit. D.Q. is busy writing the Death Warrior Manifesto – an instruction book for living, which he hopes will save the troubled Pancho.Francisco X. Stork takes us on the trip to Albuqueque, and shares the sometimes violent, often comic, adventures of Pancho and D.Q. as their friendship grows and their demons are battled. With the exception of the love interest, Marisol, even the minor characters are vividly painted and a high level of tension is maintained throughout the story.The book’s target audience is ‘young adults’. Well, my young adulthood is long gone and I still enjoyed reading it. If you take anything away, it will be the confirmation that we cannot control what life throws at us – and both young men had plenty of misfortune thrown their way – but we can control how we react to that misfortune.

  • Katie Hutchison Irion
    2019-02-22 00:27

    I really think this deserves 3.5 stars. I mean, it is a good story but it just didn't do it for me. Plus, I really, really love STork's other book, Marcelo and the Read World and had high expectations for this and it just didn't live up to my thoughts. This story centers around two boys: DQ and Pancho. Pancho lost his father, mother, and very recently his sister. He believes that his sister was unintentionally murdered but no policeman will listen to him. His quest is to find the last man who was with his sister and kill him. This revenge consumes his life and heart. Since he is now an orphan he is sent to ST. Anthony's home for boys and meets DQ, a young man dying of cancer who immediately befriends him. They embark upon an interesting adventure that changes their hearts and lives. Pancho eventually comes to terms with his anger and, even though the ending does not disclose everything, seems to be on the track to a better life.I mean, there was nothing wrong this book but I just didn't connect with the characters enough to really care what happened to them. I thought there were some great themes about friendship, love, revenge, and change. I bet this would be a better book if I was discussing this with a group of friends afterwards. As it is, I don't think I'll be recommending it. It was just okay.

  • Marlene Scholfield
    2019-03-20 00:54

    I found this book off a recommendation from another avid reader and I am so glad to have found this little nugget. This was a sweet story about two boys who fall in love with the same girl. But there is a problem that both boys must go through. D.Q. Is working on his death manifesto and his side kick Pancho is working through his sisters death. This book made me want to become a Death Warrior myself... don’t waste time on hating but rather on loving the time that we have been given.