by P. M. DeVuono
“David and Mary kindle their romance at an ‘alternative school’ in L.A., in a neighborhood where gang activity, drugs, shootings and death are not a rare occurrence… What a beautiful story. …I was crying actual tears when it ended.”
Reviewed by Patrick Hodges for Goodreads
“PMD delivers a contemporary ‘Machiavelli’ or ‘Art of War’ that should probably be required reading for… anyone… who cares about society in America. I will keep this book close to my heart!”
Reviewed by Lorraine Evanoff for Amazon
“Author P. M. DeVuono presents a detailed and beautifully human view of underprivileged and misunderstood youth in What Happened to David…” “Whilst Mary and David’s story is engaging and quick to read on the surface – full of snappy, authentic dialogue and tense teenage action – the undercurrents and bitter truth of life are never far away, and waiting to strike tragedy into the tale.”
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
“Thank you for this no nonsense, non candy coated version of what can and does happen with adolescents from all different walks of life. I have been teaching at a continuation high school in L.A. county for 16 years!… The characters are a combination of many different students I have had over the years… I also really resonated with the Oasis of Second Chances… as my school is such. Thank you for this very “real” version of what I see and experience everyday.”
Reviewed by Morgan for Amazon
“Authentic portrayal of teen isolation /angst. As a HS teacher, the reality of the story deeply touched me. I had multiple students read this and all found it moving. I highly recommend this for young adult readers and parents and teachers. Terrific!”
Reviewed by myspat for Amazon
“This is a beautiful book in the tradition of “West Side Story”. I couldn’t put it down. The characters are engaging and realistic. The message is poignant and tragic. As a teacher, I have worked with students who have suffered from bullying, and lived in fear… This is a must read for teachers and middle-high school students.”
Reviewed by Educator Joan Lavery for What Happened to David
What happens when an easy-going guy gets into trouble with undercover cops, a jealous gangster, and a beautiful girl at a tough Los Angeles alternative school?
It’s what happened to David.
What Happened to David provides a new twist on what it’s like to be bullied. It tells the story of what it’s like to stand up for yourself and then get sent to an alternative school because of it. In What Happened to David, 15-year-old Mary is victimized by an obsessive, love-struck teen gangster and then sent from a magnet school to a tough alternative school where she meets David, another victim of an unfair system.
While reflecting on stupid car thieves, bad tattoos, and other foolishness, as well as the hard luck stories of the students around them, David helps Mary to view herself and her new school as an opportunity – an “oasis of second chances” – rather than a punishment or an embarrassment. Their love grows as they adapt to their new school. Just as she starts to feel safe, Mary’s past returns with tragic consequences. This is a story about young love, obsession, belonging, violence, survival at school and coping with tragic loss.
It’s a fast paced, easy read (8th grade level), with enough menace, action and goofiness to keep struggling readers interested and enough depth for advanced readers and protracted discussion. Although this is a work of fiction, it is inspired by my 20 years of teaching a tough alternative school much like the school in the story.
Too many kids hate to read. This is especially true at alternative schools. They struggle with reading and give up trying because the vast majority of books don’t relate to their world. So I wanted to write a book about them for them, and I did. What Happened to David fills a void on our library shelf. Taking place in an alternative school, What Happened to David has more gangster edge and violent craziness than many teen series yet it has a sweet love story missing from the extreme street scenes of books that are only about gangs. For more details see A Conversation with P. M. DeVuono.
I believe in this book, my students did too, and they were the first to read What Happened to David. Educators, parents and kids will find this book helpful as well as entertaining. Follow What Happened to David on Facebook.