Tex-14 years old

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This book is about a boy named Tex whose life is nothing like yours. He lives in Oklahoma with his brother Mason (Mace). Tex also lives with his father, but he has not been home for 5 months. Mason works to pay the bills but dreams of becoming a basketball player. Tex always seems to find trouble, and you will see that he is reckless and impulsive (doesn’t think before he acts). Tex has a horse named Negrito and a best friend named Johnny. Tex has a crush on Johnny’s sister, Jamie.
TEX-14 years old

Mason- 17 years old

Their last name is McCormick
This book might be difficult to get through, but you will be given a summary for each chapter. The summary is not supposed to be a substitute for the actual book, but it should help you get through it.
We strongly recommend that you take notes while you read. Taking notes is time consuming, however, it is a great way to help you remember what you have read. If a parent or a sibling can read to you while you take notes, by all means, do that. We will read in class and during support. We will also practice how to take notes on the chapters so that no one is re-writing the book.
WARNING: If you do not read, it will be very difficult to pass the remainder of the quarter. We know this from experience with students have neglected to read the book in the past.
You have been working hard and are ready to take on Tex!

Tex is riding his horse, Negrito. Summer is ending and Tex is looking forward to his father (Pop) returning home. Pop is rodeo rider and that is where he has been for months.
Tex has not ridden Negrito recently because his friend, Johnny, got a new motorcycle. The two would go dirt biking together. Tex returns home and Negrito joining Red, his older brother Mason’s horse. Tex was a better rider than his brother and both of them used to participate in junior rodeos, Tex changes for school and Johnny picks him up on his motorcycle. It is against the law for two people to ride on it at one time, but Tex thinks that is a stupid law. He says that he does not purposely try to break laws but he really doesn’t agree with this one.
(Johnny Collins is described as “flame-haired”, meaning that it is bright red. He has freckles. He has dark blue eyes like the rest of his family, but his mother has very dark hair and his father has very light hair. Jamie is his sister)

Mason is still in high school, but he works and pays the bills while Pop is away. The heat has been turned off in the house. Mason sells Tex’s horse, Nergrito and his own horse, Red, because they need the money for bills.

Negrito is like a friend to Tex. He cannot believe that Mason has sold his horse. Tex goes to look for his horse. Johnny and his sister Jamie thinks he should call the cops on Mason.
Cole Collins, Johnny and Jamies’ dad, doesn’t like his kids to hang out with Tex and Mason because he thinks they are a bad influence. The Collins family happens to have more money when compared to Tex’s family.
Mason admits to his friend Bob Collins that he had to sell the horses. He needs to get through baseketball season so that he can earn the scholarship that will him out of town and into a college. This means that he cannot work as much.
Tex thinks that when he once “borrowed” (stole) a car and went to jail that it was the worst thing that could happen to him. But, now the sale of his horse is the worst thing that has happened.


  • Tex feels like Mason has changed a lot over the last few years. He doesn’t laugh as much as he used to and now he has announced that he does not plan to go to “The Fair”.

  • Tex is wishing that Pop will come home. He has never been away for this long before and has not really made any money working at the rodeos. Mason does not think that he will, but Tex remains optimistic (hopeful).

  • We find out that Tex and Mason’s mom died from pneumonia when Mason tells Tex not to go out into the cold with wet hair.

  • The Fair is coming up in the city and Mason gives Tex some money so that he can go to the Fair with Johnny. Johnny’s brother, Bob, will drive them there.

  • Tex and Johnny go on rides and get kicked off the Ferris wheel. Tex admits that while he feels bad that Mason is missing the Fair, he would be annoyed by Mason who always liked to plan out what they would do when they go there. (This shows how Mason is a planner, likes organization, is responsible).

  • Tex and Johnny run into Jamie, Johnny’s sister and Tex’s crush.

  • Tex and Jamie go into a fortune teller who tells Tex that he will be staying in his town and that his past has been full of sadness and violence, while his future is filled with change. Tex is allowed to ask one yes/no question and he asks if he will get Negrito back. The fortune teller says he will not get Negrito back.

  • After the fair, everyone goes back to Charlie Collins’ apartment (Johnny and Jamie’s older brother) and they get drunk.

  • Tex drinks too much, goes home and throws up.

  • He falls asleep by the front door and Mason wakes him up. He tells Tex that he often finds him asleep by the front door and asks what he dreams about.

  • Tex says he dreams about his mother and when her and Pop got into a fight before she died and she left the house, walking through the snow.

  • Mason comments that Tex is never afraid of anything during the day in the way he seems to be afraid of his dreams at night, and Tex realizes he is afraid of Mason leaving him.

Chapter 3

  • Cole Collins, Johnny’s father, shows up at Tex’s and Mason’s house accusing Mason of getting Johnny and Bob drunk.

  • Cole Collins admits that Bob said he was to blame, but Cole doesn’t believe him and wants to speak to Tex.

  • Mason refuses to allow Cole to do that and Cole then tells Mason not to associate with his kids (who are Mason’s and Tex’s friends). In return, Mason tells Cole that maybe he should tell his kids the same thing rather than assume that Johnny, Bob, Jamie, and Charlie are so well behaved.

  • Tex stays home from school because he is sick from drinking so much the night before.

  • Lem Peters stops by. Lem is Mason’s friend who married Connie because she got pregnant (remember, they are 17). He lives at the city and works at a gas station. Lem used to always spend time with Mason and Tex, riding horses. When Lem moved away, Tex realized how things really never stay the same. Connie just had a baby boy. Lem and Connie’s parents do not speak to them anymore so they must support themselves. Lem says he does not make much money at the gas station and Connie cant work now that they have the baby.

  • Lem, Tex and Mason sneak over to the Collins house to Johnny that Lem had the baby.

  • Tex sneaks into Jamie’s room, and thinking it is Johnny, shoots Tex with t water gun.

  • Cole Collins comes into Jamie’s room and Tex hides in the closet. Eventually, they both sneak downstairs.

Jamie gives Lem an attitude primarily because she doesn’t like the direction his life is going.

Before Lem leaves, he gives Tex and Mason joints (marijuana).

  • Tex has “gotten high” before but he doesn’t really like it. He would rather ride a horse.

  • Mason does not think Lem and Connie are fit to own a cat, let alone raise a baby.

Chapter 4:

  • Johnny gets his motorcycle taken away for a week because he came home drunk so he and Tex have to take the bus to school.

  • In art class, Tex is working on a freeform sculpture that he thinks is boring. It is made of toothpicks and glue. Tex decides to light it on fire while the teacher was coming around to grade it. As a result, he is sent to Mrs. Johnson who is the Vice Principal and guidance counselor. Even though Mrs. Johnson yells at Tex, he still feels that she cares about him. She asks about his relationship with Mason, if he had heard from Pop and says hi to him in the hallway.

  • On the same day, Tex gets in trouble in English.

  • He also has gym, which he hates because the teachers pick on him (Coach McCollough) since he wont try out for basketball. He ends up being late for class and has to do extra push ups. Coach McCollough tells Tex he has no competitive spirit and that if he didn’t have any potential he would not give Tex a hard time. He says that Tex could be as good as a player as Mason if he would stop fooling around and just work hard.

  • Johnny asks Tex what his problem is and Tex accuses him of sounding like his father, Cole. He asks Johnny if he is really going to stay away from him and Mason. Johnny gets angry at Tex for saying bad things about his father and the two end up not speaking to each other for the rest of the week.

  • Jamie asks Tex when he is going to make up with Johnny because she thinks they should work it out. Jamie also tells Tex he is cute.

  • Tex goes to the gravel pits with Roger Genet who is not very popular or liked because he steals and beats people up. Johnny was there too but he ignored Tex. The guys that are there discuss jumping over the creek with their motorcycles. Roger says that Johnny’s bike is not good enough to make it. Johnny tries it but he wipes out and hurts his leg. To help Johnny save face (not look bad), Tex says Johnny just hit a bump. Then Tex jumps the creek. He makes it but the wind gets knocked out of him.

  • Tex and Johnny make up without having to say they are sorry.

Chapter 5

  • Mason is angry that Tex jumped the creek because he could have gotten seriously hurt (or killed).

  • Tex says he won’t do that again, and Mason says he will still probably do something just as stupid. Tex thinks that Pop would have thought it was cool to jump the creek.

  • Tex looks in the mirror while cleaning his face and wishes he could ask Mason if he was good looking. Here, we get a description of Ted: a chipped tooth, scar above his left eyebrow from Mason, boney face, dimples, longish hair. Mason walks in on Tex and tells him no one will mistake him for Robert Redford who is a famous and good looking actor. We also learn that Mason got a hair cut which other kids at school copied, telling us that he is popular and people want to be like him.

  • Mason tells Tex he is going to the city on Saturday and asks if he needs anything. Tex suggests going to McDonald’s and seeing a movie.

  • Mason has an early appointment at the hospital for tests. Tex asks if he has cancer and Mason does not believe he does, but he just wants to see if something is wrong. He gives Tex the car (even though Tex is not old enough to drive) and a credit card and he goes to the mall.

  • Tex looks at books and jeans.

  • He keeps seeing cute girls everywhere and he can’t understand why they didn’t look so cute a year ago!

  • Tex goes to a sporting goods store to look at the fishing section. He picks out a fishing lure and accidentally puts it in his pocket. He gets accused of shoplifting but is let go because he was inside the store and not trying to leave.

  • Tex sees Jamie at the mall and he thinks he is in love.

  • When Tex goes back to the hospital to meet Mason, Mason tells him that he has an ulcer. Ulcers are caused by worrying too much and are often found in the stomach.

  • They go to McDonald’s but Mason has to be careful of greasy foods because they hurt his stomach.

  • Tex finds out that Mason is not that experienced with girls. He doesn’t want to end up having to marry a girl because she is pregnant like Lem did.

  • Mason tells Tex that he never lies to him because Mason has always wanted people to be honest with him.

  • Mason tells Tex that there is no way things will work out between him and Jamie.

Chapter 6

  • After lunch, Tex and Mason stop by Lem’s apartment. They see Lem, Connie and the new baby.

  • Lem receives a phone call and he has to meet someone at the Holiday Inn. He asks Tex and Mason if they want to take a ride in his new car, a dark blue Pontiac with air conditioning. This strikes Mason and Tex as odd because Lem had been saying he had no money, especially since Connie could not work, he didn’t make much at the gas station, and their parents would have nothing to do with them.

  • Mason realizes that Lem must be selling drugs in order to afford the nice apartment and a nice, new car.

  • Lem says he has to sell drugs to support his family and that he and Connie take drugs.

  • Mason has tried drugs, but they are not something he does on a regular basis. He thinks Lem is stupid for selling them.

  • Lem says that Mason does not know what is like to have to support a family or to have people dependent on you and Mason reminds him that he certainly does since he takes care of Tex.

  • Tex and Mason leave and Tex is driving home.

  • Mason repeats to Tex that he cannot believe how stupid Lem is and that he will never end up getting out of Garyville (the town where they live). Mason vows that he will make something of himself and not be stuck in a situation like Lem.

  • Tex feels that if you are where you want to be, then you are not stuck but also sees that Lem is not too happy with his life.

  • They pull over and pick up a young hitchhiker. The guy tells them he is going to the state line.

  • Tex realizes that Mason is suddenly very quiet. The hitchhiker has pulled out a gun and stuck it in Mason’s ribs. He says there are cops looking for him because he murdered two people. He has nothing to lose so he will kill Mason and Tex if he has to. The hitchhiker shares that he has been to jail and tells Tex and Mason that if they ever go to prison, they should kill someone as soon as they get so that others will be afraid of them.

  • Pop had gone to prison and never talked about and Tex realizes that it must have been really bad.

  • The Hitchhiker talks about how he had been planning to murder someone for a long time and that it wasn’t as exciting as he thought.

  • A cop pulled up behind their car and Tex started to speed up. The hitchhiker tells Tex to slow down or he will shoot Mason.

  • Tex says that the cop put his lights on and the hitcher turns around. Tex slams on the brakes and turns the steering wheel sharply. The truck skids and lands in a ditch. The hitcher jumps out of the car and tries to pull Mason out with him. He was going to use Mason as a shield if the cops tried to shoot at him.

  • The cops kill the hitcher!!

  • The cops tell Tex and Mason that they were lucky. They find out the hitcher is named Jennings and he had once gone to jail for selling drugs. Mason turns white and throws up….this reminds him of Lem.

  • Tex believes the hitchhiker reminds him of himself.

Chapter 7

  • Tex and Mason are on the news after they were “kidnapped”.

  • The phone rang for 2 hours straight after---they were famous!

  • Mason and Tex smoke the joint (marijuana) that Lem gave them.

  • The phone rings again and it is Pop. Mason is very surprised that he is finally calling, especially since it is November 1st. Pop had seen the news and wanted to check on them. Tex gets on the phone and learns Pop is in Dallas. He tells him that Mason has an ulcer and Mason gets mad. Tex gets excited because he finds out that Pop is coming home tomorrow. Mason is not excited. He is actually upset that this was the only time Pop called. He feels that Pop had forgotten about them until the news reminded him that he had two sons.

  • Pop arrives home early the next morning and the boys are very excited.

  • For the first time, Tex realizes Pop is like a visitor, not a father.

  • Mason asks how long he plans on staying this time and Pop says he doesn’t blame him for being irritated. Pop has quit the rodeo because he is too old and went to New Mexico for the summer to mine for Uranium.

  • Mason tells Pop that he is so angry because they haven’t had money and he had to sell the horses. He tells Pop about the fight they had afterward. Pop says he thought that when he left, there was enough money for them to live on and that he hadn’t planned to be away for so long.

  • Mason tells Pop that he clearly didn’t think about the money and that when Tex broke his arm it was expensive because they don’t have health insurance. Mason just wants to know how long Pop plans to stay.

  • Pop says he will try to prove himself to the boys by staying and being a father. The first thing he plans to do is get the horses back. The horse will be Tex’s birthday present. Mason points out to Pop that Tex already had his birthday----Pop claims that he thought it was in November, not October.

  • Tex and Mason are having nightmares.

  • When the boys go to school, Miss Carlson was absent. She went to the hitchhiker’s funeral. She knew him a long time ago, before he was a criminal.

  • Pop got a job at the feed mill.

  • He is supposed to come home on payday and take Tex to get back Negrito, but he is very late. Pop forgets and is at the pool hall. He is still going to give Tex the money to get Negrito back. Mason takes him to the farm and sees that Negrito is being ridden by a girl. She renamed him Nicky. Her pony had died and Negrito actually helped her get over the pony’s death. The girls’ father refuses to sell Negrito back and Tex tells Mason he will hate him for the rest of his life. It was the first time he realized that hurting someone could feel so good.

Chapter 8

  • Tex knows that Negrito is lost forever, and this hurts more than the first time.

  • Tex and Jamie start dating but Jamie is technically not allowed to have a boyfriend because she is too young. Cole Collins, her dad, would be even angrier if he knew she was with Tex.

  • They go to watch a basketball game that Mason and Bob (Jamie’s brother) are playing in and Tex says he thinks Cole would actually like having Mason as a son and Mason would like having Cole as a father.

  • Jamie tells Tex her other brother ran away from home because of a huge fight with Cole.

  • The opposing team from Riverview was out to get Mason so that he would get hurt and taken out of the game. The plan works—Mason is injured and pulled out.

  • The team loses the game and Jamie and Tex leave.

  • A guy from Riverview starts to harass Tex about the team losing without Mason. Tex knows the kid from rodeos. Jamie tells the guy to “bug off” and just when he is about to say something about Jamie to Tex, Tex punches him. A bigger fight breaks out and Jamie and Tex leave.

  • Jaime and Tex start kissing in the car and Jamie gets upset. She says her father was right; she is too young to date. They argue and Jamie tells him she could see herself marrying Tex but he reminds her that when they are old enough to do that, she will be gone, leaving town for something better. She gets out of the car, slamming the door so hard the window cracks.

  • Tex is very upset-----he can’t be with Jamie---they have broken up.

Chapter 9

  • It has been a month since Tex had his fight with Jamie.

  • Johnny and Tex glue the caps on the keys of the typewriters in the typing room in a way that would make the cap explode and scare everyone. They get to school early to do this.

  • Tex has decided that he wants Mason to go to college because he is all over his, acting like he is Tex’s father.

  • Capping the typewriters went well---people were scared, Mrs. Bennet left school early and the boys got in trouble.

  • Mrs. Johnson called both of their fathers and the boys have to wait in the office until they show up. Johnny makes Tex hold his pack of cigarettes for him since his father would be angry if he found out Johnny smokes.

  • Mason shows up instead of Pop. Then Cole Collins arrived.

  • Cole Collins said he should have know Tex was behind the typewriter incident because whenever Johnny gets in trouble, Tex is in trouble…basically blaming everything on Tex.

  • Mason says it is the other way around or at least 50/50.

  • Mason says he knows that this incident is Tex’s fault, but the year before, it was Johnny who broke Tex’s arm when they were ramming shopping carts into each other and Mason did not go to the Collins house trying to get Johnny in trouble.

  • Cole tells Johnny it is time to end their friendship and Johnny says NO!! He will not!!

  • Mason notices cigarettes in Tex’s pocket—he was holding them for Johnny. Mason knows that Tex doesn’t smoke but Tex says they are his…he is covering for Johnny.

  • Mason tells Cole that Johnny and Tex are no worse than the other. Both of them find themselves in trouble, neither is really bad nor or they bad influences on each other.

  • Cole ends up respecting Mason.

  • Both boys are suspended for 3 days and they must make up their tests every day after school. Johnny and Tex will be in separate classes in high school and Johnny has to sell his motorcycle.

  • Tex reminds Mason that he already sold his horse, so he has nothing to lose.

  • Mason leaves Tex to wait for Pop.

  • Tex goes outside during lunch and sees Lem in the parking lot. He is meeting someone who he hopes will give him marijuana to sell. He asks Tex if he want to try some.

  • Tex tells Lem that the guy he is waiting for went fishing instead of going to school.

  • Tex notices that Lem’s car smells like pot and he looks like he is high on drugs.

  • Tex and Lem talk about how they miss horses and Lem says that he thought Mason only cared about money but since he is not selling drugs with him he realizes that Mason really wants a respectable life.

  • When Tex goes back to the office to wait for his dad, Mrs. Johnson asks if we was smoking pot. (he smells from hanging out with Lem).

  • Mrs. Johnson tells Tex that Mr. Kencaide of Kencaide Quarter Horses contacted the school and wants to hire some kids for summer work. Mrs. Johnson thinks Tex would be a good person for the job and he is excited. She also tells Tex she considered expelling him for the typewriter incident but she didn’t because she likes him.

  • Mason comes back and Pop has not yet arrived. He tells Tex he better wake up and get it together. Popl shows up and does not take the situation seriously. Mason gets really angry because ultimately he is the one who has to look out for Tex when Pop is not around. At some point soon, Mason won’t be around---he plans to go college.

  • THEN, Mason says (p.177), “Geez, make it easier on me if nothing else! He is my brother even if he isn’t your son!” (Mason and Tex have the same mother, but a Pop is not Tex’s biological father).

  • Pop gets very angry----he admits to nothing and Tex runs out of the building.

Chapter 10

  • Lem sees Tex on the street and picks him up. The car smells like pot and Lem is driving slowly—he is high.

  • Tex is going to go with Len to fix a drug deal that got messed up.

  • Tex tells Lem that Mason just exposed a major secret and that Pop is not his father. Tex is thinking about Mason and realizes that while Mason didn’t exactly lie to him, he neglected to tell him the truth about who his real father was.

  • Lem and Tex get to the apartment of Kelly, the guy that Lem needs to do business with. Tex cannot stop thinking that Pop is not his father. He is thinking how he remembered that his mom and Pop were happy together, but that maybe his memories are wrong. Who is his real father? Tex thinks that Pop would never care for him because he is not his real son like Mason is.

  • All of a sudden, the guy Lem was talking to starts screaming and throwing a fit. He is yelling at Lem.

  • Lem tells Kelly he is leaving and Kelly starts screaming that Lem is going to narc (narc means that he is going to go to the police and get him in trouble). He is screaming NARC and another guy tells him to calm down. Just as Lem is trying to leave, Kelly pulls out a .22 pistol (gun) and aims at Tex.

  • Tex has already had a terrible day and a rage takes him over. He slammed across the room towards Kelly who fires a shot at him. Tex gets the gun out of his hand and smacks Kelly in the face with it. Kelly is covered in blood and he looks scared because Tex is now aiming the gun at him.

  • Lem and Kelly’s friend are begging him not to shoot the gun. Tex knows he is not going to kill Kelly and warms him that if they try to stop him and Lem from leaving he will kill them.

  • Lem thinks that Kelly missed shooting Tex, but Tex tells him he has been shot.

  • Lem is freaking out because if he takes Tex to the hospital, the police will come and ask questions…..Lem will end up getting in trouble.

  • Tex gets out of the car and feeling sorry for himself he tells Lem to just dump him like everyone else.

  • Tex staggers to a pay phone in a shopping center parking lot and decides to call Johnny. Jamie answers instead. He asks her what his home phone number is because he cannot remember it. Jamie asks if he is drunk because he sounds funny and he tells her he has been shot.

  • Jamie starts screaming and Cole gets on the phone asking if this is a joke.

  • Cole finds out where Tex is and tells him to hang up the phone.

  • Lem shows up and Tex tells him that he wants a coke. He asks Lem to call Mason.

  • Lem ends up calling Connie and tells her to get rid of everything—meaning, she needs to get rid of the drugs they have in their apartment.

  • Tex cannot believe Lem called Connie while he is dying.

  • A crowd forms and asks Lem if he called an ambulance. He has not.

  • Tex tells Lem to leave because he is going to get in trouble and Lem tells Tex to tell the police that the shooting was over a money loan, not drugs.

  • Tex is cold and he passes out.

Chapter 11

  • When Tex wakes up from surgery, he is in the hospital and Mason is there.

  • The cops ask Tex what happened and he tells them Lem and Kelly fought over a money loan.

  • Pop comes to the hospital and tells Tex about his mom. When Pop was sent to jail, Tex’s mom, Clare, was 19 and left to take care of Mason. Pop was arrested because he was a bootlegger, meaning he made an sold illegal alcohol. She was so angry with Pop that she had an affair with another man. She got pregnant with Tex. Tex learns that his biological father was a rodeo rider and Pop used to know him. Since Pop had not seen him on the rodeo circuit, he figured he was most likely dead. When Pop got out of jail, they moved to a new town to try and start over, but things were never the same. Pop loved Clare so much that he did not even care that Tex was not his son. Clare (Tex’s mom) always expected Pop to let her down again and he never really trusted her again since she cheated on him. The night she walked into the snow, they were supposed to go to a Christmas dance. At the last minute, Pop backed out because he didn’t want other men to look at her. Pop ended up following her to the dance and they danced for a little while. Clare and Pop came down with a cold but Clare’s ended up being pneumonia.

  • Clare was stubborn like Mason and Pop cant say exactly why he never paid more attention to Tex but it was probably because Tex is a reminder of how Pop and Clare made mistakes.

  • Jamie and Johnny visit Tex. They tell him that Cole saved Tex’s life by calling the ambulance. If he hadn’t then Tex would have bled to death.

  • Jamie tells Tex that Mason was hysterical when he heard about Tex.

  • Jamie and Tex end up kissing.

  • Cole comes to visit and tells Tex he is glad that he is okay and Tex thanks him for saving his life.

Chapter 12

  • Tex gets home from the hospital. It is spring break and the Collins family is in Disneyland.

  • Tex gets a letter from Lem. The letter says that he and Connie left town and moved to Arizona. He is sorry for what has happened and asks that Tex not tell anyone where he is. He knows that Mason will go after him if he ever gets the chance.

  • Mason’s ulcer has been bothering him lately.

  • Mr. Kencaide has given Tex the job with the horses but he has to start work late because of his gunshot wound.

  • Mason tells Tex that he has decided not to go to college. He likes working at the steak house and he will take classes in restaurant management at the junior college in the city.

  • Tex asks Mason if he is crazy---going away was his dream.

  • Tex tells Mason that he has taken care of him long enough and that if he doesn’t go to college so that he can take care of Tex than in 2 years he would hate him.

  • Mason feels conflicted—he can’t stay and he can’t go. He tells Tex that he doesn’t hate him. Mason tells Tex that before he went to surgery he told Mason he did not hate him. ***Mason never shares his feelings, so this is an important conversation.

  • Tex tells Mason that when he goes to college, Tex will drive him to the airport.

  • Tex and Mason make plans to go fishing the next day. Things are going to be okay.

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