The Throwaway Piece ~ By Jo Ann Hernandez
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Book Info: A dramatic novel for young adults about a teenage girl forced to live with foster families. Jewel is shuttled from one foster home to another. But Jewel wasn’t always a "State Kid." Her mother Angela’s constant search for happiness through a steady stream of unsavory boyfriends leads to the state’s intervention in Jewel’s life.
Listening to her new foster mother’s list of "nos"—no drugs, no lying, no stealing, no skipping school, no boys in or out of the house, no being late—Jewel realizes that her mother said "yes" a lot. Probably too much. She remembers saving Angela's life when one of many boyfriends beat her, trying to hide another boyfriend's attempts to rape her when she was fourteen, and being sent to a foster home to please the latest boyfriend. But still, Jewel worries about her mother and knows that she will once again pick up the pieces when the latest jerk leaves.
Bit by bit Jewel’s life begins to change for the better after her latest move to a new foster home and school. Although most people can’t see past her tough "State Kid" façade—spray-painted hair, heavy make-up, ripped clothing and unlaced shoes—her English teacher realizes there’s more to Jewel than meets the eye. He convinces her to tutor a fellow student who needs help with math, and gradually she learns how to make friends. In the process, she touches the lives of many people around her, including her social worker, teachers who believe in her, her new-found, tentative friends, and even their parents.
But when she’s forced to choose between her life-long job—taking care of her mother—and doing what’s right for herself, old habits and loyalties are hard to break. Jewel is sure that this time, she can save her mom. But will she be able to save herself?
Author Bio: JO ANN YOLANDA HERNÁNDEZ is the author of White Bread Competition (Piñata Books, 1997), which received recognition as the second place winner of the University of California at Irvine’s Chicano / Latino Literary Prize in 1996, and The Throwaway Piece (Piñata Books, 2006). Her work has been published in various journals.
Jo Ann is also the founder of BronzeWord Latino Virtual Book Tours, which is a company devoted to promoting Latino authors and literature through virtual book tours. To learn more, visit www.latinobooktours.com, and the author's web site.
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