Shut Up (Hamilton High series)

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9781932538885: Shut Up (Hamilton High series)

When their mother is called to Iraq with her National Guard Unit, 17-year-old Mario Barajas and his 10-year-old brother, Eddie, are sent to live with their Aunt Carmen. Soon after the boys move in, their aunt’s boyfriend, Denton, begins spending more and more time at Carmen’s, particularly with Eddie. When Mario notices that his little brother is laughing less and behaving rather strangely, he soon discovers the sexual abuse that Eddie has been suffering at the hands of Denton. With their mother miles away, their aunt’s boyfriend threatening to split the boys up into different foster homes, and his brother refusing to tell anyone else the truth, Mario must do whatever he can to keep his brother safe. This is a gripping and moralizing tale of trust, betrayal, and secrets that should never be kept.

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About the Author:

Marilyn Reynolds is the author of the Hamilton High series, which includes Baby Help, Beyond Dreams, But What About Me?, Detour for Emmy, If You Loved Me, Love Rules, No More Sad Goodbyes, Telling, and Too Soon for Jeff. She is also the author of I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for the ABC Afterschool Special teleplay of Too Soon for Jeff. She lives in Gold River, California.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 8 Up—For high school senior Mario Barajas and his nine-year-old brother, Eddie, the trouble begins when their mother's National Guard unit is shipped off to Iraq, and Aunt Carmen becomes their guardian. Although she tolerates Eddie, she is controlling and punitive toward Mario. But far worse happens when Carmen's charming and manipulative boyfriend takes a special interest in Eddie. At first Mario misses Eddie's growing seriousness, fears, and nightmares. But when he comes home early and walks in on Denton forcing Eddie to perform oral sex on him, all the pieces fall into place and Mario's protectiveness kicks in. His struggles to protect his brother, to be understood at school, and to be believed are gripping and realistic. Sexual victimization of boys is all too common, but rarely portrayed in fiction. Here it is treated with a directness and honesty that are refreshing. Far more than a "problem novel," this story is built on strong characters and a well-developed plot. Mario is a believable hero, a member of a unique and complicated family. The suspense builds as he must take big risks and suffer personal losses to keep his brother safe. Written with a keen understanding of teens and a remarkable awareness of sexual-abuse dynamics, this wise novel is an important addition for any collection serving teens.—Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
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