Show Them You're Good: A Portrait of Boys in the City of Angels the Year Before College

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Simon and Schuster, Aug 18, 2020 - Social Science - 336 pages
The acclaimed, award-winning author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace presents a “carefully observed journalistic account [that] widens our view of the modern ‘immigrant experience’” (The New York Times Book Review) as he closely follows four Los Angeles high school boys as they apply to college.

Four teenage boys are high school seniors at two very different schools within the city of Los Angeles, the second largest school district in the nation with nearly 700,000 students. In this “exceptional work of investigative journalism…laced with compassion, insight, and humor” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) Jeff Hobbs stunningly captures the challenges and triumphs of being a young person confronting the future—both their own and the cultures in which they live—in contemporary America.

Blending complex social issues with each individual experience, Hobbs takes us deep inside these boys’ worlds. The foursome includes Carlos, the younger son of undocumented delivery workers, who aims to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and attend an Ivy League college; Tio harbors serious ambitions to become an engineer despite a father who doesn’t believe in him; Jon, devoted member of the academic decathalon team, struggles to put distance between himself and his mother, who is suffocating him with her own expectations; and Owen, raised in a wealthy family, can’t get serious about academics but knows he must.

Including portraits of secondary characters—friends, peers, parents, teachers, and girlfriends—this “uniquely illuminating” (Booklist) masterwork of immersive journalism is destined to ignite conversations about class, race, expectations, cultural divides, and even the concept of fate. Hobbs’s portrayal of these young men is not only revelatory and relevant, but also moving, eloquent, and indelibly powerful.
 

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
19
Section 3
37
Section 4
57
Section 5
77
Section 6
95
Section 7
119
Section 8
133
Section 15
222
Section 16
223
Section 17
235
Section 18
237
Section 19
255
Section 20
269
Section 21
291
Section 22
317

Section 9
145
Section 10
159
Section 11
161
Section 12
179
Section 13
199
Section 14
213
Section 23
329
Section 24
331
Section 25
333
Section 26
337
Section 27
345
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About the author (2020)

Jeff Hobbs is the author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was made into the 2024 film Rob Peace. He is also the author of Show Them You’re Good and The Tourists. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

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