Related Titles
The Innocence Device   Just Gone   Something Noble

The Barrio Kings
by William Kowalski

Rosario Gomez gave up gang life after his brother was killed in a street fight. Now all he wants to do is finish night school, be a good father and work hard enough at his job at the supermarket to get promoted. But when an old friend shows up to ask him why he left the gang, Rosario realizes he was fooling himself if he thought his violent past would just go away. When his pregnant girlfriend is hit in a drive-by shooting, Rosario has to make some hard choices. Revenge means a return to his old ways, something he swore he would never do. But unless he takes action, his enemies will not rest until they've settled the score against him.

Reading Level: 2.1
ISBN: 9781554692446
Pub Date: April 1, 2010
Price: $9.95
2011 Golden Oak Award Nominee
2011 SLJ's Top Book Choices for Youth in Detention list

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Additional Formats: The Barrio Kings Digital Audiobook

About the author

William Kowalski is the author of the international bestseller Eddie's Bastard, winner of South Africa’s Ama-Boeke Award, and more recently The Hundred Hearts. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. Two of the titles William wrote for the Rapids Reads series have been nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s Golden Oak Award. He lives with his family in Nova Scotia. For more information visit

The list of books by William in the Rapid Reads series are: The Barrio Kings, Just Gone, Something Noble, The Way it Works and The Innocence Device. The latest, Epic Game, will be released in March 2016.


CM Magazine—June 25, 2010
"Kowalski keeps readers hooked right to the end of the story. There aren’t many characters in this novel but they are clearly and strongly drawn. Readers can’t help but like Rosario and be impressed at the strength of the love he shows for his newborn son and for Connie."

Readingjunky's Reading Roost—July 26, 2013
"I have long been a fan of Orca Publishers and their high interest/low level offerings...The Barrio Kings is slightly over 100 pages, reads quickly, and contains just the right combination of action and drama to interest reluctant readers. With characters living in the adult world, there is definitely more appeal for alternative ed/adult ed readers attempting to improve reading skills. I look forward to reading another Rapid Read selection."

Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children’s Media—January 11, 2011
"We like Rosario and cheer his good decisions all the while secretly afraid for him."


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