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Scorpions Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

It is important for every ethnic group to have understanding and empathy for members of other groups whose backgrounds and living conditions are different from their own. Reading allows students to walk vicariously for a short time in the shoes of others, to feel what they feel, and to empathize with their problems.

Scorpions deals with the friendship and loyalty of two twelve-year-old boys, one black and one Puerto Rican. Neither lives with his father. Jamal lives with his mother and sister, and Tito lives with his grandmother in an inner-city neighborhood filled with violence, gangs, poverty, and drugs. These two boys have more than friendship; they have a brotherhood, and the book illustrates how love can cross racial barriers. The story provides a compassionate, fast-paced account of how two boys are drawn into gang violence. The characters are so well portrayed that readers will understand the anguish of Jamal's mother as she sees her older son imprisoned for murder and of Tito's grandmother as she lives through her grandson's tragedy.

Myers does not preach to readers about joining gangs, running drugs, using drugs and alcohol, and carrying guns, but the story is told so well that readers see the dangers for themselves.