The House of the Scorpion
by Nancy Farmer
Mr. Ortega, Matt's music teacher, is one of the few nice adults in our young hero's life. Mr. Ortega is deaf and therefore desperate for a job, which is why he agrees to teach Matt, even though Matt's a clone. Mr. Ortega loves music and seems to appreciate Matt's musical ability. Matt pays a subtle tribute to his kind teacher when he adopts his last name after arriving in Aztlán.