Book Cover, Mario 2: Coming of Age
Book Cover, Mario 2: Coming of Age
Mario 2: Coming of Age

Mario is a bildungsroman, a young adult coming of age story. Mario Luna is a young man growing up in the East Los Angeles of the sixties. He lives with his aunt across from Hollenbeck Park, but this is not your run-of-the mill story. His aunt once stole a million dollars; his best friend is a murderer; his best girl is a hooker; and as for Mario, he leads an interesting life.

This is the journey of a young man of dubious opportunity and unlimited potential. He wrestles with the same issues as many young people today—how to get pocket money; how to cover up when things at home aren’t exactly what society would like; how to make it through the day/week/month without getting sucked into a gang or killed. The deck might be stacked against him, but Mario doesn’t know it.

Available in hardcover, paperback, e-book, and audio.


Book Cover, Mario 2: Coming of Age
Book Cover, Mario 2: Coming of Age

Top Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars – Hatcher does it again.
By Taylor Thomason, May 25, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Mario, the baby from the first book, is the main character in George Hatcher’s novel “Mario 2: Coming of Age.” He is growing up in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles, with his Aunt Carmen – the main character for Hatcher’s first book in the series “Mario 1: Woman in Jeopardy.”

It starts as a coming of age story for young Mario and then starts to morph into this kind of Karate Kid story as Mario takes karate lessons from a man named Cosmo. Being poor, Cosmo states that if Mario brings him enough customers that Cosmo will give him a job. Mario navigates his world, living amongst gangs and poverty, and the snake-of-a-lawyer Harry.

My favorite lines from the book:
Carmen: Where’d you get the flowers?
Mario: I got ‘em for you, auntie
Carmen: What did you do wrong?

The heart of this book really revolves around the relationship between Mario and Aunt Carmen. It’s admirable the way Mario strives so hard as a young man to help her and himself out.

Again, Hatcher does a great job with his description, dialogue, and language. From the very start of the novel, Hatcher really draws you into this world. It’s a different world from the on-the-border towns of the 50’s, but that doesn’t mean the current setting of LA in the 1960s-70s is anything less than great. I also love how the book doesn’t just follow Mario at one age, but it goes over many years – making this somewhat of a coming of age story.

I was very satisfied with the end of the novel, especially the epilogue. I can’t wait to find out what comes next with “Mario 3: Risky Business.”


Mario 2 takes up Mario’s story when he is a ten year old boy growing up in Los Angeles in a world of gangs. He’s raised by his aunt, and they live on the edge of poverty in East LA. At ten years old, he decides it’s time to become a man and take care of his aunt so he finds a job and develops a talent for salesmanship that almost take him to prison and does get him in hot water with the IRS. Mario is a tough little karate kid who doesn’t let life get him down. His world is populated with his peers who grow up to be gangsters and crooks, and lovely girls who are hookers (called corner girls). It is a wild life set in the sixties and seventies.


This was undoubtedly one of the most charming and beautiful things I have ever read! The book is fabulous. Almost reads like a thriller. Really genuinely enjoyed the story as a whole. It was good enough for me to want to read another book from this author. The book was very interesting and entertaining. Highly Recommended story.


Hatcher has a style all his own. In this book, Mario Coming Of Age, the author introduces us to ten year old Mario and his life in East Los Angeles. The story was a slow build, taking us to all the ins and outs of Mario and his everyday struggles to survive in his hard-beaten neighbor. Mario’s life is no bed of roses, he and his friends scrapped for every morsel, and only the love of his aunt was keeping him going. I found the journey a bit tedious at times, but in the end I had to conclude, the way the author approached the story gave me an opportunity to get to know Mario and his immediate circle of friends, almost intimately.

This is a story of love, responsibility, jealousy and finally, revenge that unfolds as the years fly by. We see the time change irrevocably, as does Mario’s good fortunes. Yet one thing stays the same—Mario’s determination to better his aunt’s lot in life. Everything he did was to provide for his aunt. He was obsessed with making her life better. The author’s style is as conversational as barber parlor gossip. His main characters ring true in their environment, and while one is empathetically human, the others may be hard to like, but impossible to forget.