Teenage Mosaic

A Story of Murder, Revenge, and Forgiveness

Young Adult - Social Issues
256 Pages
Reviewed on 09/13/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Teenage Mosaic: A Story of Murder, Revenge, and Forgiveness is a young adult and new adult contemporary fiction novel written by Dewey Pasquini. What started out as teens acting out in a restaurant and harassing their waitperson until they got him fired would turn out to have repercussions that none of the parties involved could ever have envisioned. The four Jefferson High boys and their dates had been raised in a culture that said Mexicans were worthless, illegal and gang members. Tito, the waiter they had harassed, was actually an honor student, who needed his job to help his mom pay the bills. A week later, after a hotly contested football game between Jefferson High and Washington High, which had been held at the predominantly white and upper middle class Jefferson High, Tito and his three friends, all honor students, were concerned about simply getting home without having problems with Jefferson students. They were all too familiar with the hateful rhetoric spouted by talk radio and television commentators on the right, and could sense the hostility of many white students who didn’t know anything about them or their lives and had bought into their parents’ attitude and hatred. As the four boys were considering how best to react in the event of a confrontation, four Jefferson students started heckling them from across the street. When Tito and his friends continued on their way, the students crossed the street and confronted them. Tito recognized them as the boys who had gotten him fired, and something broke within him. He was so tired of being bullied, being treated as inferior no matter how hard he worked or how high his achievements.

Dewey Pasquini’s legal thriller, Teenage Mosaic: A Story of Murder, Revenge, and Forgiveness, is a frank and sorely needed look at the repercussions and psychic injuries that are part of the everyday lives of people of color as a result of the hate-filled rhetoric of talking heads about immigrants and their place in society. The author, who was an educator, coach and principal for 32 years, shows quite eloquently how the hate, the ignorance, and fear that spawns it is passed down to their children, who in all reality have much more in common than those perceived as 'the other' than differences. His story shows all too clearly how systematic bullying can cause even the most honorable and caring person to snap.

Pasquini’s story has marvelous heroes who are larger than life, especially Reverends Bascom and Jones, who are so instrumental in making a difference, as well as the young adults themselves, who must find a way to get past that legacy of hatred to live fully. I was so moved by this novel. One doesn’t have to belong to that portion of society bent on demonizing people of color and immigrants to fail to recognize the awful impact all that hatred has on kids as they’re growing up. Each of the kids in this book is a victim, and Pasquini makes that very clear. Teenage Mosaic: A Story of Murder, Revenge, and Forgiveness is most highly recommended.

Viga Boland

It’s so impressive to watch a writer turn important social issues into compelling fiction as Dewey Pasquini does in Teenage Mosaic. In this, his second book to be published and, unlike in his first, A Warrior’s Son, the plot and characters are not based on his personal experiences. But they do, nonetheless, capture much of what he witnessed and heard over years of teaching and coaching at a high school level, all of which lends credibility to what you will read in the fast-paced and often disturbing Teenage Mosaic.

When a group of four Mexican teenage boys, all honor students, encounter racial bullying from four Caucasian students who live in wealthy, gated communities, anger and tensions rise rapidly. Unwanted murder results. Fueled by media reports, talk of Mexican gang slayings accelerate amongst the parents and students, and suddenly the need for revenge causes more deaths on both sides. As always, innocent people die. Once devout churchgoers begin questioning their beliefs, and none more so than the young Mexican, Tito, who first stabbed the white boy. While Tito is plagued with guilt and wants to turn himself in, his three friends fear the loss of their once promising futures, friends turn into foes and heartache abounds on all sides.

If President Trump talks of building a wall between Mexico and the US, Teenage Mosaic clearly shows how great a wall already exists, thanks to ignorance and prejudice. The parents in Teenage Mosaic, especially the educated and well-heeled living in those gated communities, feed the ignorance and promote the prejudice. Of course, there is prejudice on the Mexican side too. But it’s a prejudice, even a hatred when it comes to the gangs, that is the result of the lack of respect they, even those legally admitted into the US, have suffered. Readers will find themselves wanting to wring a few necks, and it’s not just of those who commit the many violent acts that occur in Teenage Mosaic. Ironically, and beautifully, it's the teenagers themselves who point the way to changing attitudes as the story draws to a close. If this fiction could become a reality, one can hope an eventual solution is possible

If your taste in reading goes to realistic fiction told with sensitivity, well-drawn, believable characters and a fast moving chain of events where one bad move leads to too many others, you’ll definitely enjoy Teenage Mosaic.

Jessyca Garcia

Teenage Mosaic: A Story of Murder, Revenge, and Forgiveness by Dewey Pasquini is a fast paced story about making bad decisions and learning to forgive. The story follows a group of teenage boys from different neighborhoods. A bad decision is made that disrupts a lot of lives.

I had mixed feelings about Teenage Mosaic: A Story of Murder, Revenge, and Forgiveness. There is a lot of swearing and a lot of derogatory name calling in this book. There is also a lot of hate in this book. The characters hate each other because they are different races and come from different backgrounds. They do not respect each other, mainly because they were raised not to. This bothered me because the name calling and disrespect were too real. The violence seemed like a never ending cycle.

This book brought out a lot of emotions in me because, being half Hispanic and half white, I see things from both sides of the fence. As much as those things bothered me, there was something I really liked about this book. I liked how Pasquini actually made a piece of art out of it. Each chapter is a different mosaic piece. Put them all together and you get a story. I thought this story was very much like real life. There is too much hate in the world and it is growing more every day. Until everyone learns to respect and forgive each other, there will be more stories like this one coming true.