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Fiction Crime

The Barrio Kings

by (author) William Kowalski

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Apr 2010
Crime, Urban Life, Family Life
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2010
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Jan 2018
    List Price

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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.

About the author


  • Short-listed, Golden Oak Award nominee
  • Commended, SLJ's Top Book Choices for Youth in Detention list

Editorial Reviews

"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."

CM Magazine

"We like Rosario and cheer his good decisions all the while secretly afraid for him. Your struggling older readers will love this book."

Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media

"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."

Readingjunky's Reading Roost

Other titles by William Kowalski