Buried Onions by Gary Soto

 

Buried Onions by Gary Soto

Nineteen-year-old Eddie has spent his entire life in a crime-ridden and run-down Mexican-American neighborhood in Fresno, California, where kids are as likely to graduate from juvie hall as they are from high school.  Drugs, desperadoes, and death are the norm; the streets are mean and the facts of life as cruel as they come.  Hoping to learn a trade and improve his chances in life, Eddie enrolls in City College, where he often watches the mortuary students who also attend the school, wondering if they have handled any of the dead friends and family members Eddie has recently lost to violence.  When a lack of money forces Eddie to drop out, he hits the streets in search of income, soliciting odd jobs wherever he can and struggling to get by.  Then his cousin Jesús is killed, the victim of a senseless and cold-blooded knifing.  Scarred by grief and scared for his own future, Eddie resists the urgings of his mother, aunt, and several friends to find Jesús's killer and avenge his death as cultural tradition dictates.  (Reading Level 5.3)

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