Next Stop

Growing Up Wild-Style in the Bronx

Next Stop

Beyond the safety of New York City's news headlines, Next Stop is a train ride into the heart of the Bronx during the late eighties and early nineties at the height of the crack epidemic, a tumultuous time when hip-hop was born and money-hungry slumlords were burning down apartment buildings with tenants still inside. From one stop to the next, this gritty memoir follows Ivan Sanchez and his crew on their search for identity and an escape from poverty in a stark world where street wars and all-night symphonies of crime and drug-fueled mayhem were as routine as the number 4 train.

In the game, the difference between riches and ruin was either a bullet or a lucky turn away. Almost driven insane by the poverty, despair, and senseless violence, Ivan left it all behind and moved to Virginia, but the grotesque images and voices of the dead continued to haunt him. This book honors the memories of those who died. At times heartbreakingly sad and brutal, Next Stop shares with a whole new generation the insights and hard lessons Ivan learned.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416562672 | 
  • October 2008
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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Points
1. What do the earliest stories Ivan tells about his older brother, William, tell you about their relationship? How does their behavior throughout the book reinforce your early impressions of them? Does the way that Ivan relates to William ever change?
2. Though his father was absent for most of his life, Ivan still identifies himself as taking after him. In what ways does Ivan resemble his father? How are they different?
3. When you think of a "crew," or "thugs," what comes to mind? How do Ivan and his friends hold up to your stereotypes? How do they defy them?
4. Next Stop explores the escalation of violence among poor urban youths living in the Bronx in the late eighties and early nineties, providing a safe window into a terrifyingly dangerous lifestyle. Describe the landscape of New York City, particularly the Bronx, during this period. In what ways is the Kingsbridge crews' world just like that of any American family? In what ways is it different?
5. Ivan states that there weren't any rules in the hood except for one: Don't get caught. How does this maxim affect the development of the boys' moral compass? What other examples are given throughout the memoir of what is morally OK and what isn't?
6. The majority of reported crimes in America, especially in the inner cities, are committed by boys and men. Were you surprised at the role girls and women in this book played in neighborhood rivalries and other acts of see more

About the Author

Ivan Sanchez
Photo Credit:

Ivan Sanchez

Ivan Sanchez was born in the Bronx, New York City, in 1972. He left the inner city in 1993, and earned an associate's degree in applied science from Virginia's ECPI College of Technology and a bachelor's degree in management from the University of Phoenix. He currently holds a supervisory position with a major manufacturing organization in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and works as a youth advocate and motivational speaker in his spare time.