The book Bait is about the emotional journey of Diego, a troubled sixteen-year-old boy, who is forced to confront painful secrets from his past. Author Alex Sanchez masterfully tells Diego’s story as he goes through an emotional transformation with the help of Mr. Vidas, his probation officer. At first, it is very difficult for Diego to trust Mr. Vidas and talk about his past. Over time, Diego recognizes Mr. Vidas as one of the only trustworthy adults in his life. Together they examine Diego’s experiences and begin to understand how those experiences set up patterns of behavior that continue to haunt him. Through their relationship, Diego learns to make sense of his experiences and deal with his emotions in a constructive way. The book resists stereotyping and oversimplification allowing readers to witness the long and difficult process of dealing with emotional turmoil resulting from past abuse. This groundbreaking work boldly addresses important issues that are often hidden away and ignored out of fear and shame. The well-developed characters in the novel bring these issues to the fore and show us the urgency and necessity for creating safe spaces for young people. A central message of the book is that through caring relationships with supportive adults, young people are able to overcome painful experiences to lead healthy lives.
Alex Sanchez is an award-winning author of novels geared for young adults. He received his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University and for many years worked as a youth and family counselor. His novels include the Lambda Award-winning So Hard to Say, the Meyers Award-winning Getting It, the Rainbow Boys trilogy, The God Box, and Bait, winner of the Tomás Rivera Children’s Book Award. When not writing, Alex tours the country talking with teens, librarians, and educators about the importance of teaching tolerance and self-acceptance. Alex was born in Mexico City and his family moved to the United States when he was five. He now divides his time between Thailand and Hollywood, Florida.