“Llorona was no harmless little pigeon. She was the lechuza, the owl you see just before someone is about to die, the one that haunts you in your dreams and you never want to see in real life because it means you are about to lose someone you love.”
Llorona is the only girl Güero has ever loved. A wounded soul, she has adopted the name of a ghost from Mexican folklore. True to her namesake, Llorona cast Güero away with the coldness of the apparition she has become. But Güero—though he would never admit it to his friends—still wants to get back together with her.
Güero spends time with his friends Ángel and Smiley—members of the HCP (Hispanics Causing Panic) gang—roaming the streets of the South Texas border towns they inhabit, trying to forget Llorona even as she seems to appear around every corner.
Over three days Güero’s increasingly violent confrontations with Llorona’s current boyfriend will jeopardize the lives of Ángel and Smiley and the love he hopes to regain.
As events begin to accelerate toward their conclusion—and gang signs are thrown as both threats and claims of identity—the question arises: will Güero throw the HCP sign, or will he throw off that life? Güero’s life will be irrevocably changed by violence and loss, but who will he lose, and will he—somewhere along the way—lose himself?
I have waited, literally, a decade or more to see this book in print. Here it is…I am not alone any more. Degollado has done what only a handful in my beautiful Río Grande Valley of South Texas have done: captured it in its full glory and grit to share it with the world: among them, Américo Paredes, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Narciso Martínez, Freddy Fender, and Genaro González. Now, Rubén Degollado.
Dr. René Saldaña, author and professor, Texas Tech University
There are books written with the mind and books written with the heart. Throw by Rubén Degollado is written with both. It’s not just that you see a familiar reality presented intensely, accurately, la pura verdad, the way you know it really is. It is also that you see it, finally, the way it should be seen, the way it should be understood and loved, by all.
Francisco X. Stork, author of Disappeared
Rubén Degollado joins the list of honored writers exploring this ancient and mythic Texas land. His novel shimmers and burns with extraordinary light. I can hear the people talking in my dreams.
Luís Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels
Throw completely transported me back to the 1990s Rio Grande Valley and the critical turning points in a teenager’s life. In his unforgettable protagonist, Güero, Rubén Degollado beautifully depicts the many-layered beings we all are: vulnerable and tender-hearted beneath a hard exterior as we navigate a world of love, family, and friendships—all in hopes of finding a place to belong
Natalia Sylvester, author of Everyone Knows You Go Home and Chasing the Sun
Rubén Degollado’s debut young adult novel Throw . . . captures many of the obstacles young men and women face growing up: gangs, alcoholism, broken homes, the need to be loved; at the same time, Throw lifts the spirit, reminding us of the importance of forgiveness, acceptance, and letting go. . . . The tale of La Llorona, her love, loss, and inability to forgive, is a part of the Mexican-American experience and Degollado’s fresh take on an abuelita’s cautionary tale captures its essence and spins it with a modern perspective for future generations to enjoy
Malín Alegria, author of Estrella’s Quinceañera