THE PAINTED BOY
A masterful tale, full of culture and folklore. Teens will relate to Jay’s confusion over his grandmother’s cryptic speeches. Facing two of today’s biggest issues, drugs and gangs, de Lint doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of growing up in areas affected by these problems.
When Jay was 11, a dragon appeared on his back. It wasn’t tattooed there, it just appeared one painful day. He carries on his grandmother’s legacy of the Yellow Dragon Clan. Trained to develop focus, stamina and strength, Jay must forgo a normal life. When his grandmother sends him out to find his place in the world, he is angry and unsure. She refuses to give him any straight answers, so a randomly placed finger on a map sends him to Santo del Vado Viejo. When the death of a friend at the hands of a local gang leads him to pursue his dragon heritage Jay will discover more power than he dreamed, but also more responsibility. (VIKING, Nov., 448 pp., $18.99, ISBN: 9780670011919, HC, 12 & Up)