The Afterlife by Gary Soto
You'd think a knife in the ribs would be the end of things, but for Chuy, that's when his life at last gets interesting. He finally sees that people love him, faces the consequences of his actions, finds in himself compassion and bravery . . . and even stumbles on what may be true love.
A funny, touching, and wholly original story by one of the finest authors writing for young readers today.