Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review: This is the harrowing story of Antonio Pintero in 1970’s New York. From the time he was born to a drug-addict mother with AIDS, Antonio hasn’t had an easy life. By the time he was 5-years old, he was out on the street selling drugs for his hot-tempered and abusive stepfather. By 12, he had his own gang.
I did kind of wonder why we switched from Antonio to two detectives half way through the novel. Who were these guys? I thought this was Antonio’s story. Was he eventually going to get arrested by the two cops? Were the two cops going to be corrupted by Antonio? Was a big showdown about to happen in the end? Were the cops in the present or the future? It was confusing and a bit disconcerting.
Poignant and raw, HIS-panic is a heart-wrenching and powerful story that is all too real. It is filled with hardships, drugs, and violence that both innervate and sedate the reader. It makes sense that all Antonio talks about are drugs and gangs since it was all he knew, but it grows wearisome.
Overall, this is a captivating coming-of-age story that is nearly on the same plateau as the works of Luis Rodriguez. In fact, Cisneros could be his successor.