THE BOOK: Rickie Trujillo
PUBLISHED IN: 2017
THE AUTHOR: Nicholas Bradley
THE EDITOR: Emily Williamson
THE PUBLISHER: Upper Hand Press
SUMMARY: Rickie Trujillo is a smooth-fielding, clutch-hitting ball player, and that could be his ticket out of this largely ignored poor neighborhood in L.A., but it’s not. This place only lets a few get away, and Rickie won’t be one.
Rickie Trujillo is a mature YA novel that details a weekend in the life of a talented boy who carries anger about him like a fiery undergarment. He is a good student who is respected by his teachers, even as they fear his sullen anger. More and more he is becoming dissociated, an outcast and a loner among the students and staff at the high school he attends.
It takes so little in this place of poverty and gangs and graffiti and stunted hopes to set Rickie off, and this weekend, a surprise and unwelcome visit by his long-absent father is enough. This visit and the need to prove himself to his tagging crew, drive Rickie’s impulsive decision to rob an electronics store.
Of the two police officers who respond to the alarm, one is a rookie who knows Rickie and his skill as a ball player; the cop makes the fatal mistake of letting his guard down when he apprehends the boy. They get into a scuffle and struggle for control of the policeman’s weapon, and the weapon is discharged.
In a desperate attempt to escape, Rickie runs through the night deep into the neighborhood and seeks shelter in the attic of an abandoned house. He waits. He watches and listens, hoping for a miracle that will not come.
THE BACK STORY: This novel is based on actual events that took place in a poor neighborhood in the east San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. The boy was a student at the school where I taught. I was puzzled and dismayed by the fact that he seemed to have the baseball skill, if properly guided, to escape the poverty and deprivation of his neighborhood.
The book took years to write, partly because I was teaching full-time, partly because it is a first novel and I needed a lot of guidance, and lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I thought the subject matter to be too important not to devote the time and energy to making it as accurate in all ways as possible.
WHY THIS TITLE? This is definitely Rickie’s story.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? I want politicians to read it, particularly in these times of volatile emotions and actions involving the poor immigrant population. I want teachers and others involved in education to read it so that they might better understand the students who are seated before them in many of our classrooms. I want everyone to read so that they might better the issues of poverty in present day urban settings.
I am hoping it particularly reaches a Latino population that will recognize the emotional and social truths of the book.
10 stars needed. Author has an amazing understanding of his subject and the culture in which the story takes place. A 2 hour read has a permanent and haunting effect because I really felt like I knew Rickie Trujillo and the demons he battles. If you are involved with, or care about, our youth today, this is a must read!
Excellent book! Bradley’s writing is superb, the characters are memorable and well-drawn. Fantastic read and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Hop on for a crazy ride, so vivid and real writing and impossible to put down. This I can very easily see becoming a major motion picture- it’s that hands on. Once you get involved its hard to stop reading. This book succeeds superbly- and I hope there are more to follow. Loved it madly.
Excellent book! Nicholas’ writing paints a vivid picture, & the characters have a strong presence. Enjoyable read and kept me thoroughly engaged throughout the story. I was able to knock it out on a couple business trips. I look forward to future readings from this author!
AUTHOR PROFILE: I taught English and ESL in junior high, middle, and high school in Los Angeles throughout my thirty-year career. The schools where I taught were in neighborhoods of poverty and crime, gangs, drugs and graffiti, the setting of my mature YA crossover, Rickie Trujillo. Many of the students I taught and tutored during my career were, like Rickie, active gang members and/or taggers.
During the ten years in Los Angeles preceding my teaching career, I worked as a road musician, truck driver, messenger, and pianist.
I have published fiction in the Red Cedar Review and conducted feature interviews with jazz and classical great musicians such as Med Flory, Pete Christlieb, Tommy Newsome, Glen Johnston, and Leo Potts, all of which were published in the Saxophone Journal. I has also been recognized in national writing contests for two of my short stories.
Rickie Trujillo was published in September of 2017.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I hoped to tell the story of the boy’s final weekend without moralizing. I wanted to tell the story in as straightforward a manner as I could so that the challenges he presented to himself and to those people who dealt with him would be clear and uncluttered.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: See Amazon page.
LOCAL OUTLETS: Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC
Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC
W0HERE ELSE TO BUY IT: HTTPS://UPPERHANDPRESS.COM; INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES; AMAZON. DISTRIBUTED BY BAKER & TAYLOR, INGRAM, AND AMAZON.
PRICE: List $16.00
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: firstname.lastname@example.org