What Is the Book "Taking Sides" About?

The book, "Taking Sides" by Gary Soto, is about a Hispanic American teen's struggle to adapt to his new surroundings in an upper class neighborhood. Main themes of this book are about finding one's identity and making connections with others.

In the book, Lincoln Mendoza and his mom move to a better neighborhood in Sycamore after their San Francisco house is broken into. Lincoln finds the new school to be better at first, but quickly develops homesickness for his old life as the star basketball player at Franklin Junior High School.

The book follows Lincoln as he makes new friends and struggles with maintaining friendships with friends back in the barrio. Additional conflicts, such as a basketball coach with a grudge against his former school and disliking his mother's white boyfriend complicate Lincoln's life further.

"Taking Sides" approaches a climax as Lincoln contemplates competing against his former team in a big, upcoming basketball game between his old and new schools. His coach seems to take the conflict out of Lincoln's hands by benching him for the upcoming game. With effort, Lincoln comes to realize that he wants to compete and doesn't need to feel guilty about the game. He even manages to get into the game and maintain his friendships with both the old and new people in his life.