UT­El Paso professor BENJAMIN ALIRE SAENZ’s author bio dubs him a fronterizo, “a person of the border,” and his sweetly gritty novel SAMMY AND JULIANA IN HOLLYWOOD (Cinco Puntos Press) is indeed a loving tribute to Chicano culture in the Mexican-American borderlands. Sixteen-year-old Sammy Santos lacks street savvy but wields enough brainpower to earn his place in the pecking order of Hollywood, a rough-and-tumble barrio outside Las Cruces, New Mexico. Against a sixties time-warp tableau, Sammy loves and loses the soulful Juliana while he and his pals act out as bored kids are wont to do—smoking, drinking, and test-driving their brand-new hormones. Sammy and Juliana is the kind of grit lit teens love, a young-adult novel that might give the genre a good name.

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