Always curious about just what a quinceanera is, this was a great book for me! It is somewhat like a Sweet Sixteen party, when a girl celebrates a special time in her young adult life. The difference however is the quinceanera in the Hispanic culture is a celebration when a girl turns 15 and has more emotional and spiritual connotation attached to it.
The book starts when Ana Ruiz is a young mom with Carmen, her fourteen year old daughter, and who is working hard to handle the recent separation from her husband. Along with that, she must deal with work and how Carmen is very upset about all of this with her parents. Carmen is very vocal about it and blames her mother for it all. Ana thinks the quinceanera might be a way to make things better with Carmen but Carmen wants no part of it.
Luckily, Bianca, who is Ana’s niece, becomes the party planner and helps to keep peace between Carmen and Ana, at least somewhat. Diego, who is Carmen’s older brother, also begins to understand his father’s leaving and what his mother went through so also tries to help keep the peace. Planning Carmen’s quinceneanera acts as the basis of the drama going on in this family. I found it interesting that the book focused on Ana Ruiz and what she was going through in trying to continue her education and being a strong and confident woman.
The story is very touching as well as humorous. The characters are well developed and they are facing real life problems that all families face…not just Hispanic families. Parts of the story have short Spanish phrases in it and Spanish words but using context clues in reading allows for even non-Spanish speaking readers to understand what is going on. I liked the book and even the complications of the cultures are explained and what helped me to understand so much more. Acosta handles this well and I believe this is part of a series and if so, I am certainly looking forward to it!
Karen D. Haney, Author/Developer of BOOKIN’ WITH BINGO (http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com), reviews books and interviews authors for her book blog. Reading and writing are her passion.
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