Mexican WhiteBoy

Mexican WhiteBoy

Mexican WhiteBoy is a 2008 novel by Matt de la Peña.[1] De la Peña drew on his own adolescent passion for sports[2] in developing his main character Danny, a baseball enthusiast.



Danny Lopez, a young teenager, is the main character of Mexican WhiteBoy. In the first part of this book talks about him as a shy boy from San Diego. In his school, Leucadia prep. is full with white people and he feels different from all of the other kids, even do he is only slightly darker. During this summer he went with his cousin Sofia.

Danny’s uncle, Tommy, wanted to beat up someone but did not know who to beat up because Danny wouldn't tell him because he was afraid to. After his uncle left, then Danny got in a car with his friends and his other friends got on another car and they were going to Del Mar Fair. In Danny’s car somebody got out a bottle of alcohol and they were passing it around so everybody would get a sip. Danny had never drink in his life but Sofia influence him to drink a little bit, so Danny did. At one point in the fair they went go feed some goats celery and Danny remember his dad When Danny first sees Liberty, he feels something inside of him that cannot be described.

Danny, and Sofi’s friends go to the theatre and Danny bought them popcorn. Danny saw Liberty in the line of the theatre where they were standing at. Danny, and Uno are in the mound, they go against Carmel and JJ. Danny had a bad day because he couldnt pitch the ball straight at Uno’s hands. Danny overhears Sofie and his Uncle Tommy talking about his dad abusing his mom. Danny , and Uno go against Carmelo and JJ. This time Danny gives Carmelo three strikes, and Carmelo keeps saying do duble or nothing, and they keep on raising money, and Carmelo gets mad JJ grabes the hat with the money inside and tries running with it but Uno gets JJ from behind and punches him and all of JJ’s friend’s comes in and taclke Danny and Uno then this guy from Los Padres scout came and taclke all the kids that were punching Danny and Uno. Later both Danny and Uno runs to the bus stop.

Danny gets a phone call from his mother from San Francisco, she tells him how beautiful San Francisco is but out of nowhere she starts crying. In the novel his mother tells him that she wants to be with the family again and be happy so she told him that she is going to pick him up in a few days. So Uno and Danny decide to have one last practice at Las Palmas, that evening Uno and Sofie was talking about there life and how would it change if this happened and looking to the future. She tells him “ Anyways this girl climbs up the ladder real slow right? But her parents let her do it all by herself. And the whole time she has this huge smile in her face. And when she gets to the top of the slide, she sits there for a sec, clapping her hands and laughing. Her parents hustle around to the bottom of the slide and she says ‘Here I come’ its like she was saying it to the world (212). Uno takes Danny to his old school and they found Kyle a future baseball player that have been scouted, Uno tells Kyle to put money on the line but Danny and Uno losses the bet. After getting into a fight with the other guys, Uno and Danny head home. At Sofia's house they talk about their future. As the story ends, Uno and Danny go to their favorite spot throw some rocks. Danny realizes that after all that he's been through he's glad to be where he is today.


A New York Times reviewer described the author's characterization of Danny as "remarkably human," and his treatment of the themes of self-discovery as "never corny, sentimental or sappy."[3]

Additionally, the novel's use of Spanglish sets it apart from other young adult novels, making English-speaking "readers . . . feel like outsiders among the hard-edged kids of National City," a reviewer for The School Library Journal noted. However, with time, the reviewer added, "[the characters'] language starts to feel familiar and warm."[4] Rohrlick, for Kliatt, was also impressed with de la Peña's "terrific dialogue" and his use of "street slang".[5] Reviewers recommend the novel for "mixed race"[6] readers. The issues of biculturalism in Mexican WhiteBoy and other works were the subject of a conference presentation by the author at the University of Arizona's 2010 Tucson Festival of Books.[7]


  • An ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults (Top 10 Pick)
  • 2008 Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Ribbon List
  • 2009 Notable Books for a Global Society
  • 2009-2010 Texas TAYSHAS Reading list
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection[8]


  1. ^ Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Peńa – Trade Paperback – Random House
  2. ^ Steinberg, David (14 September 2008). "Basketball fanatic didn't discover passion for books and writing until college". McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, New Mexico: The America's Intelligence Wire).,,):FQE%3D(ke,None,18)%22mexican+whiteboy%22:And:LQE%3D(AC,None,8)fulltext$&sgHitCountType=None&inPS=true&sort=DateDescend&searchType=BasicSearchForm&tabID=T004&prodId=IPS&searchId=R1&currentPosition=1&userGroupName=ncowl&docId=A185031024&docType=IAC&contentSet=IAC-Documents. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Bennet, Steve (13 November 2008). "Book Review: From Latino authors, search for Identity". New York Times ( Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Walton-Hadlock, Madeline (September 2008). "De La Pena, Matt. Mexican WhiteBoy.". School Library Journal 54 (9): 177.,,):FQE%3D(ke,None,34)%22mexican+whiteboy%22+matt+de+la+pena:And:LQE%3D(AC,None,8)fulltext$&sgHitCountType=None&inPS=true&sort=DateDescend&searchType=BasicSearchForm&tabID=T003&prodId=IPS&searchId=R1&currentPosition=1&userGroupName=ncowl&docId=A185487038&docType=IAC&contentSet=IAC-Documents. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Rohrlick, Paula (July 2008). "de la Pena, Matt. Mexican WhiteBoy.". Kliatt 42 (4): 11.,,):FQE%3D(ke,None,18)%22mexican+whiteboy%22:And:LQE%3D(AC,None,8)fulltext$&sgHitCountType=None&inPS=true&sort=DateDescend&searchType=BasicSearchForm&tabID=T003&prodId=IPS&searchId=R1&currentPosition=5&userGroupName=ncowl&docId=A181672780&docType=IAC&contentSet=IAC-Documents. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Rutan, Lynn (1 August 2008). "Mexican WhiteBoy". Booklist (American Library Association) 104 (22): 60.,,):FQE%3D(ke,None,18)%22mexican+whiteboy%22:And:LQE%3D(AC,None,8)fulltext$&sgHitCountType=None&inPS=true&sort=DateDescend&searchType=BasicSearchForm&tabID=T003&prodId=IPS&searchId=R1&currentPosition=3&userGroupName=ncowl&docId=A183983655&docType=IAC&contentSet=IAC-Documents. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Festival of Books Offers Themed Programs for Families, Educators". UA News. The University of Arizona Office of University Communications. 8 March 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Mexican WhiteBoy". Retrieved 9 March 2011. 

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