So here is the long and exhaustive lists of all the major works I’ve published:
Coconut Versus (March 2017 from Floricanto Press):
Praise for the novel:
“Daniel Ruiz, in taut and urgent prose, that often takes your breath away, (like a punch to your gut), reveals the often turbulent life of Miguel Reyes as he navigates his way from confused child to manhood. With a cast of characters ranging from fierce to loving to humorous, Ruiz has given us an essential bildungsroman befitting America in the 21st Century.”
—Bruce Bauman, author of the novels And the Word Was and Broken Sleep
“Coconut Versus is a coming of age story that brims with energy and originality as it travels across modern, millennial California. Daniel Ruiz uses his ample gifts as a writer and observer of his generation’s longings to spin tales of love, rage and self-knowledge that are intelligently and passionately told.”
—Héctor Tobar, author of The Barbarian Nurseries and the New York Times bestselling Deep Down Dark.
Everyone calls Miguel Reyes a coconut, brown on the outside and white on the inside. Among his family in central California, he’s the too soft city-boy. His family try to teach him what it means to be a Reyes and to understand manhood and its value within a rural life. Miguel doesn’t always want to be a man by their often-conflicting definitions. In Arizona, he’s a brown boy in an upper-class, white neighborhood. He has no real friends as no one there seems to understand how someone could be brown without being poor. He spends most of his time alone or playing video games with his little brother Angel, yet Angel is already starting to excel past Miguel in all areas in which children are judged. Miguel falls in love for the first time, and he falls in love with a sport that provides an outlet for his growing anger, but then his growing anger is part of the problem.
In Los Angeles, he’s a fake Mexican that speaks too good. He finds love, and he finds his place in high school as the guardian of the outcasts, but his desire to be a defender and alpha male simply causes more problems. In Irvine, CA, he’s a punk rock kid in a suburban paradise. His mother has also taken a position at the same college, and Miguel attempts to reconcile his working-class mythos with his parents’ expectations. In the Inland Empire, CA, he is best friends with a local legend, Scott, and Miguel meets the love of his young life, Sunshine. Scott also loves her, and Miguel must navigate his feelings but also the realities of the ownership inherent to the world’s accepted definition of love. Miguel builds a life there, one that is defined by himself rather than others.