Behind the Eyes
Francisco X. Stork follows The Way of the Jaguar with the story of sixteen-year-old Hector Robles, an intelligent Chicano kid who tries very hard, but ultimately to no avail, to stay clear of the violence that surrounds him.
His narrator is Hector, an intelligent boy who dreams of escaping his family's life of poverty and violence. Hector's father is dead. Now, his brother is dead. When the story opens, we know Hector is in trouble with the law, that he has committed a violent act, and that he has been given the option of doing a year in a special school for troubled boys near San Antonio.
Throughout the novel, as Hector adjusts to the school, the background story of what caused him to commit the assault is slowly revealed, exposing an adolescent world of honor, revenge, and inescapable violence. Getting away from his neighborhood, into college, will be Hector's only hope of survival. Even in the special school he isn't safe, because someone has been sent to exact vengeance for the act Hector committed—a circle of violence.
This is a fine novel, which should be quite popular with all those with an interest in understanding the culture of gangs. The characters are sympathetic, and the complexities of the culture are delineated, with no stereotypes to take away from the story.”
Behind the Eyes received the Americas Award for Commended Titles. The Americas Award is given to works that engagingly and authentically portray Latinos in the United States. Behind the Eyes was also selected for inclusion in The New York Public Librarys Books for the Teen Age 2007.