The picturesque city of San Antonio, Texas, with its rich Mexican-American culture provides the ideal backdrop for the linked stories in this intriguing novel. Luz, a young Latina, will represent her state in an upcoming national spelling bee. Her participation in the contest signifies a substantial milestone for her community’s sense of pride and achievement. But her success also triggers a variety of other emotions: Luz’s younger sister, Justina, struggles to understand her mixed feelings towards her older sister’s accomplishment; Luz’s grandmother fears her granddaughter’s ambition while another generation of Latinas pins its hopes on her; and the Anglo students and parents must come to terms with the increasing visibility of the Latino community.
Woven together with the vivid metaphor of making tortillas, stories such as “Kneading Attitude” and “Mixing Ingredients” explore deep and consequential themes in this charming and hopeful collection.