by Phillippe Diederich
Cinco Punta Press
Audience: Middle School and above
Mexico City * Lucha Libra * Drugs * Poverty
"I guess that's what I always liked about these movies. They weren't about heroes with supernatural powers. They were about real people. They gave me the feeling that I too could be like..."
Fourteen year-old Liberio's, aka Boli, daily struggles include his love for the much older Ximena (19) and trying to pull together enough money to see one of his favorite luchadors, El Hijo del Santo, wrestle in the upcoming fair.
Mosca and Boli spend most of their afternoons in the plaza and around the City of Izayoc shining shoes and playing marbles. Then someone discovers the head of el profe Quintanilla and, not long after, the body of Rocio Morales. Troubles seemed to have arrived with the appearance of Joaquin Carrillo. Soon many of the stores in Izayoc start shutting down and people close to Boli start disappearing. Can Boli and, a down on his luck lucho libre, Chicano find out what's happening without putting themselves or anyone else in danger?
The mystery of Playing for the Devil's Fire sucks you in slowly. As Boli's fear for his life and those of his loved ones increases, so does the readers fear. You want to warn him. As the true motivations of the characters are revealed, Boli's innocence is threatened as he doesn't know who to trust. The love of money changes almost everyone but has a deep and dark influence over the law enforcement. No one is trying to help, believing they will be the next to lose their businesses or their lives.
There were a couple of times I wondered how old Boli and his sister were, based on their actions as well as the celebrities mentioned (Pancho Villa, El Chavo di ocho, and the calendar of Tania Rincon). Gaby is seventeen but doesn't go to school. She practically runs the bakery and enters into a contract.
Overall, it was an exciting window into another culture. Since there is a glossary in the back, Diederich doesn't stop the story to translate any words or phrases, many of which you can glean from context clues. He lays out the varying levels of poverty and how each affects character. The ending is quick and leaves you wondering about Boli and his future.
About The Author
Blog TourAugust 31: Rich in Color review (http://richincolor.com)
Sept 1: The Pirate Tree review & interview (http://www.thepiratetree.com)
Sept 4: Guest Post for Clear Eyes, Full Shelves (www.cleareyesfullshelves.com)
Sept 5: Review, The Brain Lair (http://www.thebrainlair.com)
Sept 6: Rich in Color author interview (http://richincolor.com)
September 7: Edi Campbell CrazyquiltEdi review (https://campbele.wordpress.com)
September 8: Anastasia Suen, #KidLitBookoftheday (asuen.com)
September 9: Reading Through Life author highlight plus links to blog tour (http://readingtl.blogspot.com)
Sept 9: Guest Post, The Brain Lair (http://www.thebrainlair.com)
September 12: Linda Washington (https://lmarie7b.wordpress.com/ )
September 13: Excerpt, Review, and Guest Post at Mom Read it (https://momreadit.wordpress.com)