From the Series The Alternative

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

José can’t keep up. As the only English speaker in a family of undocumented immigrants, he handles everything from taking family members to the doctor to bargaining with the landlord. Plus he works two jobs. With all this responsibility, he’s missing a lot of school. When he does make it, he falls asleep in class. José knows he has to turn things around if he wants to graduate from Rondo Alternative High School. Can he raise his grades enough to have a shot at college and a better life? Or will he be forced to drop out of school for good?

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 4
Genre High/Low, Young Adult
Copyright 2014
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Darby Creek ™
Language English
Number of Pages 96
Publication Date 2014-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 5.3
Text Type Fiction
BISACS YAF011000, YAF058100, YAF018000
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Lexile 800
ATOS Reading Level 5.1
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 166375
Accelerated Reader® Points 2.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews


  • In the Margins: Best Books for Teens Nominee, Nominated, 2014


Library Media Connection

“These high-interest low-level books provide intriguing storylines packed into a relatively short novel….This series should attract an array of readers seeking an edgier teenage drama.”―Library Media Connection


“Because of Jones’s extensive experience working in juvenile detention centers and with teens at many alternative centers, these books are quite realistic and make an excellent bridge for lower level readers and fans of the popular Bluford High and Urban Underground series who are looking for more of a challenge.” —VOYA

Publishers Weekly

“[A] powerful, realistic story…. The author’s effective use of flashbacks and crisp portraits of positive adult characters add further emotional depth to this emotional glimpse at the high-pressure difficulties facing children in immigrant families.” —starred, Publishers Weekly

Author: Patrick Jones

Patrick Jones lives in Minneapolis and is the author of many novels including the Support and Defend series. A former librarian, Jones received lifetime achievement awards from the American Library Association and the Catholic Library Association.