“This is my time to be the HERO.” (Pg 3)


“This is how it happens. The hero’s origin story.” (Pg 3)


We see that Jay has a hero complex. Being the middle child, Jay has always searched for purpose. In today’s society (late teens/early twenties), this is a common theme.


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“Once I sell the rest of this final round I picked up, I’ll have enough cash to put you and Josh through school, buy Mom a new car, and maybe even start up that nightclub we’ve always talked about opening one day.” (Pg 4)

We meet Braden, who has just gotten beat up for messing up a drug deal and is stashing his “final order” behind his band equipment. In Braden’s introduction, Braden’s hero complex is revealed. We see that regardless of the deed being morally wrong, Braden’s intent remains good.


Just as Josh enters, Jay tosses Braden the gun who hides it behind the guitar amplifier with the drugs. Josh's growth hormone deficiency and innocence lead Braden and Jay to consistently be looking out for him. They try to keep Josh from seeing the revolver, but Josh saw Jay toss Braden the gun. Braden lies, holding up the gun in his palm, and says it’s not loaded.



As they get out of the car, Jay and Val briefly talk about college plans. She tells him her plans are “complicated.” The school bell rings and Val tells Jay she’ll tell him about it later, and we see that this is the first time Jay is referred to as, “JAY LOVE.” “Love” is simply the English translation of the Spanish word, “Amor.” Jay Amor… But “Jay Love,” to Val. I wanted for Val to have a unique nickname for Jay, because, to me, there’s a lot of relational power when it comes to exclusivity. For example, sharing inside-jokes with a friend.

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“You know it might even be time for the Amor brothers to throw one of their infamous parties. That might be the perfect party for you to go to, Josh.” (Pg 12)

Jay, Josh, and Val get in the car, and immediately the dialogue begins about there being parties tonight. Josh asks if he can party with Jay & Val, and Jay says no, due to his family-nurturing instinct to preserve Josh's innocence. Josh begs and Jay ignores him. Val nudges Jay, and Jay cracks, telling Josh he can come to the next party they throw. That’s when Val flashes her signature smirk for the first time.


The girl with the amber eyes.

“Knock! Knock!” (Pg 10)

Shouting this upon entering the house is something I used to do with my next-door neighbors back when I was a kid.


“Beauty, wit, and self-awareness are an unmatched triple threat for any woman capable of possessing all three. Val was the only girl I knew capable of not using those traits for evil.” (Pg 12)

Jay is literally describing her as his "dream girl," but still fails to recognize her as being “the one,” which is something we do as young adults. It seems as though, in today's society, we glorify a life of always seeking something better, as opposed to settling down and focusing on family.

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“She never left the room without saying, 'I love you.'” (Pg 6)


We see the Amor family dynamic revealed through Jay's relationship with his mom.

"100 crunches. Hot shower in the dark. Brush my teeth. Blow-dry and do my hair. Put on face lotion and deodorant." (Pg 6)

Jay has his morning routine, which is based on my own routine from back in high school.

“I don't think there’s a girl in this world who could handle the rollercoaster that makes up Braden’s life.” (Pg 7)

At 18 years old, Jay already picks up on the fact that what others deem “cool” in his community, he deems as unstable and even a bit misleading.

Who's your favorite character so far? Why?