The Brothers Torres

Frankie Torres seems like a pretty average kid. He does alright in school, and he spends his days dreaming of his crush, Rebecca Sanchez. He also has a hobby of blowing up fireworks with his buddies Begay and Zach. But something that sets him apart from the other kids in his school is that his brother is famous in their town of Borges.

Steve Torres is a soccer star. His parents let him get away with practically anything - even fights during soccer games - and Frankie knows it, too. Frankie knows the kinds of things he has mixed himself in with, such as gangs and fights, but just when he thinks he knows his brother better than anyone else, Frankie's life turns upside down.

Frankie gets into a fight with John Dalton, the school's second-most popular guy. And when this happens, Steve takes Frankie under his wing and almost overnight, Frankie's popularity skyrockets. He can hardly believe it. He's even scored a date to homecoming with Rebecca! A few things have been a little anomalous in his life, though; his parents seem to be acting weird with the restaurant they run, Zach does not seem as outgoing as he used to, and Steve begins shattering all previous assumptions Frankie had about him.

He was basically an overnight star, hardly lifting a finger to do so. But what happens with that "success" blows up in his face?


I really wasn't expecting much with this novel, to be honest. The description was sort of bland and sounded a bit cliché, but I went with my heart and bought it anyway – and I’m very glad I did.

The Brothers Torres is a brilliant coming-of-age novel written by Coert Voorhees centering around sophomore Frankie Torres. The first thing that really struck me was the natural, realistic tone of voice Voorhees injected into Frankie, the narrator. It was witty and pretty funny, even if the situation was dead-serious. It kept the book lighthearted, and it stayed that way. The ending is pretty emotional and open-ended, but Voorhees found a balance between staying solemn and being funny.

Every character in this novel is realistic. I've read books in the past where the lead character's best friends are basically paper-thin caricatures who do anything the narrator wants them to do, and seem to have no personality. The Brothers Torres was different. Even though Zach and Begay didn't really appear as often as I thought they should have, their appearances didn't come off as forced or something made to simply move the plot along. Zach has a glass eye and tends to gross people out with it, and Begay has a fascination with fireworks. Like Frankie and his big mouth, they have their quirks.

Might I also add that the romantic interest wasn't made of air, either. Rebecca Sanchez, the girl who Frankie has his eye on, is able to stand up for herself, which unfortunately is hard to find in YA fiction. Steve, Frankie's brother, also has an arc of his own. He cares for his little brother and would do anything to keep him safe.

Something I also found really interesting about Voorhees's writing style is how he was able to slip anecdotes into the middle of certain scenes without detracting from the action happening right then. Near the beginning, Zach and Frankie are hanging out and Frankie gives a bit of a background on their friendship, describing a time when they almost got arrested for setting off fireworks. These happen a lot throughout the novel, and I just thought they were funny. They also gave a sense of realism into Frankie's world to boot.

This book could easily be transformed into a movie. It's clear and easy to read, while still sticking with the reader. It's not quite laden with hidden morals, messages, and symbols, but it's not the kind of book where you understand everything at first glance.

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