Depicting bicultural teens grappling with “fitting in,” this book is accompanied by a study guide for readers and teachers.
by Anilú Bernardo
Publication Date: February 28, 2005
Format: Trade Paperback
Imprint: Piñata Books
Ages: 11 and up
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.
Winner, 1997 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
Winner, 1997 Skipping Stones Honor Award
Included in the 1999-2000 Houston Area Independent School Library Network Recommended Reading List
“A delightful collection, addressing adolescent agonies and bicultural issues.”—VOYA
“…the stories do speak with a lively authentic accent about the angst of bicultural, female adolescence.”—Booklist
“…[the stories] speak to the awkward dilemmas faced by children of immigrant families and, in some fashion, by all teen-age girls.”—Houston Chronicle
ANILÚ BERNARDO’s other award-winning novels include Jumping Off to Freedom (Piñata Books,1996) and Loves Me, Loves Me Not (Piñata Books, 1998), which was named to the American Library Association’s 2000 YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults and the New York Public Library’s 2000 Books for the Teen Age. She currently lives in Plantation, Florida with her husband and two daughters.
ATOS Interest Level: Middle Grades
Category: Young Adult
ATOS English: 4.2
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 35022