This short story collection by popular young adult author, Anilú Bernardo, takes us from the soccer field to the seashore. Her spunky Cuban-American protagonists navigate the uncertain waters of adolescence in Miami. The stories’ protagonists juggle the traditional burdens of middle school and high school coupled with the stresses of living those burdens in a foreign culture.
Bernardo crafts a panorama of intelligent and spirited young girls struggling to find a place for themselves. Like when Sari wants to talk about boys and school with her friends instead of babysitting for Grandma, who always asks her to translate the most embarrassing things . . . or when Clari stews in her room after she’s grounded because the snippy old woman next door complained about Clari bending her stupid fence. . . or when Mari turns in a homemade diorama in a contest where her work must compete with all the store-bought iridescent paper and underwater photography that parents with money can buy . . .
Bernardo shows that it’s tough enough to be caught between the two worlds of childhood and womanhood, but when a Cuban girl must cross the bridge between two cultures to fit into a foreign environment, she faces a league of other headaches as well. The young girls in this collection don’t let the cultural challenges define them. Instead, with a little resourcefulness and strong spirit, they manage to, in the words of one character, “break out” of themselves and the limits that culture puts on them.