by Marilyn Reynolds

All is well with Eddie Barajas as he starts senior year at Hamilton High. He’s no longer plagued by anxiety from his traumatic childhood. The girl he crushes on is crushing back. And unlike his friends who are stressed over getting into college, Eddie’s decision to skip college and join his stepdad in the house painting business leaves him carefree.

But, when growing hatred and division unleashed by a recent election reach his own school, Eddie takes a stand against racism. Now, white supremacists are targeting him, and old fears from his childhood trauma rise up to haunt him, challenging all of his coping skills. What are the right choices to make, and can Eddie make them?

GOLD MEDAL WINNER for Young Adult books from the Northern California Publishers and Authors!

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Teaching Guide

Note: Eddie's Choice is the sequel to Shut Up.

ISBN: 978-1-929777-11-2
268 pages

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Watch author Marilyn Reynolds read excerpts from Eddie's Choice and respond to questions from the audience:

Reviews:Michael Cart wrote:

The latest volume in Reynolds’ popular True-to-Life Series from Hamilton High is the ripped-from-the-headlines story of Eddie Barajas from Reynolds' novel Shut Up. Now seventeen, he is a senior at Hamilton High. When he impulsively paints over incendiary graffiti on one of the school’s walls, he finds himself the target of a gang of white supremacists, who begin posting racist comments about him on social media (Eddie’s mom is Mexican; his almost stepdad is black.) One example: “Enemy of free speech. Impure race. Defective.” And then, after he stops one of their number from fleeing after a racially motivated incident, he is actually assaulted by a group of them, leaving him with a concussion and other serious injuries. Although he doesn’t see his assailants, he recognizes the voice of one of them. What will he choose to do: tell the police or take matters into his own hands? Reynolds does an excellent job of capturing the climate of bigotry and hatred that increasingly affects the lives of contemporary Americans in the wake of the 2016 election. Never didactic, her story is dramatic and compelling while her characters are fully realized and highly empathetic, especially Eddie and Rosie, the girl he meets and falls in love with. The combination of gentle love story and novel of gritty realism makes for a compelling read. The pull-no-punches novel is sure to excite discussion and -- excellent for both classroom use and independent reading -- it is a valuable addition to Reynold’s excellent Hamilton High series.

Robert Huynh, English teacher wrote:

Another intense, true-to-life teen novel from Marilyn Reynolds has Eddie Barajas, grown-up and in high school. Eddie is discovering his path into adulthood with his friends and girlfriend while navigating his troubled past. He faces the challenges of finding romance, hanging out with friends and also dealing with a white supremacist group that is having a negative influence on the school. Eddie is thrust in to doing the right thing when he encounters members of the white supremacist group and has to face a life threatening situation.

Reynolds once again does not hold back and the intense and real life of teenager life and difficult choices is brought to reality. The reader is rooting for Eddie as he deals with his past and sorts his way through his journey to his future. My students love these books and for many students it is the first set of novels they truly enjoyed and comprehended.

Leesa Phaneuf, social worker wrote:

Discussing contemporary books and movies is frequently an effective tool for building rapport and beginning to approach difficult topics when working with teens in mental health counseling. Unfortunately, it is often a challenge to find narratives that reflect the diversity of identity and experience of my young clients. Thank God for Marilyn Reynolds' Hamilton High Series! In her latest novel, Eddie's Choice, her characters represent a broad range of ethnicities and economic groups and have different interests and talents. They also have their own varied concerns and challenges including complicated parent relationships, newly blended families, evolving friendships and romances, childhood sexual abuse and the pain of dealing with contemporary racial and political tensions.
Because I work in rural Eastern Washington, I have Hispanic clients, both teens and adults, who are especially concerned about some of the issues discussed in this book including immigration policy and the white nationalist movement. I'm grateful to have a book that I can read with my clients that explores these issues and provides an opportunity for my clients to see people like themselves in a contemporary YA novel.

A teen reader writes: "This book really connects with a lot of today’s teen problems.  Not only is it a great book but it can be a good piece of advice that you can take and apply wherever.  Eddie’s Choice is mainly about Eddie’s hardships as a child and his choice to persevere and get through his current problems as well as the old.  It is also very descriptive which makes things easier to visualize.  It can be graphic sometimes and maybe uncomfortable but its all real-world things that happen every day.  Eddie’s life was never normal and very rough and you can’t help but feel sympathetic for him.  Eddie’s choice isn’t very dark because there are a lot of parts that made me laugh, for example, all of his jokes."

About the Author

Marilyn Reynolds is the author of eleven books of realistic teen fiction: Telling, Shut Up, No More Sad Goodbyes, If You Loved Me, Love Rules, Baby Help, But What About Me?, Beyond Dreams, Too Soon for Jeff Detour for Emmy, and Eddie's Choice all part of the popular and award-winning True-to-Life Series from Hamilton High. Marilyn is also the author of a book for educators, I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me: Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers, and a collection of essays, Over 70 and I Don’t Mean MPH. Her newest book is a memoir, 'Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part (2017) available from River Rock Books. She has a variety of published personal essays to her credit, and was nominated for an Emmy for the ABC Afterschool Special teleplay of Too Soon for Jeff.

Ms. Reynolds worked with reluctant learners and teens in crises at a southern California alternative high school for thirty years. She remains actively involved in education through author presentations to middle and high school students ranging from struggling readers to highly motivated writers who are interested in developing work for possible publication.

In the introduction to her book on techniques to help reluctant readers (I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me), Marilyn writes: “Over time I came to realize that the greatest gift I could give  to my students, many of whom would have no formal schooling after they left [high school], was the gift of a reading habit. Silent reading time became the backbone of my program.” She quotes a study in the the Los Angeles Times reporting that the single most significant factor in determining a person’s success in life is whether they read for pleasure.

She published her first novel, Telling, with the encouragement of Gloria Miklowitz, a well-known writer of young adult fiction. Telling deals with molestation, and students at her school became avid readers (and critics) of the manuscript. In the process, “students were developing a critical sense, using literary terms, analyzing character and motivation. And they were paying attention to the specifics of language use.”

Encouraged by the experience, she went on to write a realistic novel about teen pregnancy, Detour for Emmy, followed by nine more titles in the series. She believes that “the essence of sustained silent reading has to do with the increased understanding of one’s self and the world, of enabling the wounded to heal, the isolated to know they are not alone, the bigoted to see the humanity of others.”

Marilyn Reynolds is a passionate advocate of the benefits of writing in addition to reading. She promotes writing through participation in the 916 Ink program, and works with incarcerated youth in the Sacramento area. She engages with teens in a local continuation high school, and through visiting schools as an author, designing each visit to meet the individual needs of the school. She also presents staff development workshops for educators and is a frequent guest speaker for programs and organizations that serve teens, parents, teachers, and writers.

To request a visit, comment on Marilyn's books, or ask a question, visit Marilyn's web site, or send a message to Marilyn Reynolds below:

Other Books By Marilyn Reynolds