Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
FACTS OF LIFE is a collection of short stories presenting a variety of adolescent views on growing up. Moving from childhood to adulthood is a completely unique experience, special to each individual. Gary Soto takes readers into the minds of ten teens and pre-teens and a defining moment in each of their lives.
There is Lisa Torres, who suddenly realizes what her world of poverty really looks like to others. She learns that her personal fascination and appreciation of nature and the works of John Audubon may not be shared by those around her.
Ana Hernandez finds her world turned upside down when another Ana Hernandez appears at her school. The new Ana is admired and worshipped, while the old Ana is lost in the crowd. She learns about the importance of popularity the hard way, by losing it.
In other stories from the collection, readers will meet Hector, who must suddenly decide which of his divorcing parents' homes he will call his own. Rachael experiences the "wild side" when a new babysitter shows even less maturity and responsibility than Rachael's little seven-year-old brother. In "Citizen of the World," Laurita is exposed to the controversy of the illegal immigrant situation, and in "D in English" Ryan realizes it is time to take the world around him more seriously and become a young man instead of a little child.
Together, these stories merge to form a touching and honest look at what it means to take the giant step toward being an adult. The confusion, the disappointment, and the challenge of taking this step are evident as Gary Soto masterfully creates his characters and their true-to-life experiences.