Last night when I finished this book, my boyfriend asked how it was and I shrugged and said "it was okay." Thus...two stars.
It really wasn't a BAD book, but if I were to ask parallel-universe me (who has read every book ever and, being me, obviously knows my taste) if I should read The Painted Boy, she would probably tell me to skip it.
The only interesting characters were Paupau and Maria, and they really just don't have very big roles. : Everyone else is really one-dimensional, melodramatic, kind of dim... and what is with the all the "playful" punching all the freakin' time? The dialogue was kind of flat... like another reviewer said, tons of telling, not much showing. The author was unable to elicit any kind of emotion from me. Things that should have been sad just weren't, things that should have been sweet or funny left me scratching my head...
That said, the premise is awesome. I really like the idea behind it all--the dragon clan, the magic, the cousins, Aztlan, etc... I liked that it was set in the desert, I like that it dealt with gang violence... It could have been really awesome but I don't really feel like it delivered. I wish the writing had been, I don't know...better? Because I really liked the story.