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The Barrio Kings
By author: William Kowalski
Selling Points: Gangs, loyalty, friendship
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2010
Lexile Level: HL310L
Fry Reading Level: 2.1
Pages: 128
Adult Fiction
Price:  $9.95
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Rosario Gomez gave up gang life after his brother was killed in a street fight. Now all he wants to do is finish night school, be a good father and work hard enough at his job at the supermarket to get promoted. But when an old friend shows up to ask him why he left the gang, Rosario realizes he was fooling himself if he thought his violent past would just go away. When his pregnant girlfriend is hit in a drive-by shooting, Rosario has to make some hard choices. Revenge means a return to his old ways, something he swore he would never do. But unless he takes action, his enemies will not rest until they've settled the score against him.
Readingjunky's Reading Roost - July 26, 2013
"I have long been a fan of Orca Publishers and their high interest/low level offerings...The Barrio Kings is slightly over 100 pages, reads quickly, and contains just the right combination of action and drama to interest reluctant readers. With characters living in the adult world, there is definitely more appeal for alternative ed/adult ed readers attempting to improve reading skills. I look forward to reading another Rapid Read selection."
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media - January 11, 2011
"We like Rosario and cheer his good decisions all the while secretly afraid for him. Your struggling older readers will love this book."
CM Magazine - June 25, 2010
"There is plenty of emotion to keep female readers engaged and plenty of action to hold the attention of male readers. And while the story can be seen as a cautionary tale about the dangers of gang life, it’s never preachy...Recommended."


Golden Oak Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2011
SLJ's Top Book Choices for Youth in Detention list, commended  US  2011


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Short, high-interest
novels for adults

Key Features:
Short, high-interest novels
Compelling characters
Reading levels: 2.0-4.5
Ideal for ESL and
literacy programs

Reading guides available for free download


ISBN and collection information:
Individual Paperbacks: $9.95
Rapid Reads Collection

Discounts Available for:

See the full list of Rapid Reads.