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Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of Jason Reynolds and Matt de la Peña, this heartbreaking, no-holds-barred debut novel told from three points of view explores how difficult it is to make it in life when you - your life, brown lives - don’t matter.

Juan has plans. He’s going to get out of El Paso, Texas, on a basketball scholarship and make something of himself - or at least find something better than his mom Fabi’s cruddy apartment, her string of loser boyfriends, and a dead dad. Basketball is going to be his ticket out, his ticket up. He just needs to make it happen.

His best friend, JD, has plans, too. He’s going to be a filmmaker one day, like Quinten Tarantino or Guillermo del Toro (not Steven Spielberg). He’s got a camera, and he’s got passion - what else could he need?

Fabi doesn’t have a plan anymore. When you get pregnant at 16 and have been stuck bartending to make ends meet for the past 17 years, you realize plans don’t always pan out and that there are some things for which you just can’t plan....

Like Juan’s run-in with the police, like a sprained ankle, and a tanking math grade that will likely ruin his chance at a scholarship. Like JD causing the implosion of his family. Like letters from a man named Mando on death row. Like finding out this man could be the father your mother said was dead.

Soon, Juan and JD are embarking on a Thelma and Louise­-like road trip to visit Mando. Juan will finally meet his dad, JD has a perfect subject for his documentary, and Fabi is desperate to stop them. But, as we already know, there are some things for which you just can’t plan....

©2019 Matt Mendez (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Barely Missing Everything

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  • H. J. Ortiz
  • 07-01-2020

Not entirely sure how I feel

My initial reaction: Not entirely sure how I feel. I think I would have to re-read it again and see if I can really take it in. 

When I picked up this book, I was not quite sure what I was going to expect. I thought it was going to be similar to The Hate U Give, hitting on racial tensions, racism, and discrimination. The plot of the novel was really up in the the air, so I was prepare for whatever was to come. I will say that the novel was not what i was expecting. To me, it seemed as though there was not one major topic that was the focus. There were a lot of complications in the life of the characters, but I actually quite enjoyed that. 

I found it quite interesting that the novel did not narrow in on one major issues as The Hate U Give did for me. Barely Missing Everything rather focuses on the struggles of the characters, all of those struggles, and how those problems affect their lives. It was more realistic in the sense that the major plot and conflicts did not seem overdone or overdone as is the case in many books. I very much enjoyed the idea of portraying the problems the characters have in a realistic way and having the reader walk with the characters through those issues. 

I will add that I do wish the ending could have been different. I was not a huge fan of the ending. In my mind, I was imagining the story going in a completely different direction then the novel actually took. However, the ending was not a deal breaker for me. I still quite enjoyed the story altogether.

Audible Review:

The Audible narration for Barely Missing Everything was very enjoyable. The only really issue I had with the reading is the pronunciation of Tomasito in the story. It drove me nuts, but that was the only real issue I had with the narration. After a while, the pronunciation of this character got on my nerves. Their narration at 1.0 speed was too slow for me and seems like its in slow motion. Their narration 1.25 speed was at what I would consider normal, conversation speed. The favorite listening speed for me was at 1.75 speed. For those of us who like to multitask and listen on the go, I recommend listening at a 1.5 speed, so one does not miss anything. For those who are listening while reading the book and want to listen at a faster pace, I found 2.0 speed to be the best speeds. 2.5 speed was good too, but I liked 2.0 speed better and easier to follow. 3.0 was too fast for me, and I was missing a lot of what the narrator was saying and had to eventually slow down the narrator's reading speed. However, it is manageable. If you're used to speed listening, 3.0 speed should be manageable. 3.5 speed was definitely too fast for me.

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