Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book of the Week: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
by Meg Medina

Published by Candlewick Press, 2013
272 pages
ISBN: 9780763658595

Age 13 and older

Sixteen-year-old Piedad “Piddy” Sanchez isn’t sure what she’s done to attract the hatred of tough girl Yaqui Delgado at her new high school. Rumor has it that her newly-acquired shaking ass is the problem, or it could be her honor-student status, or her too-white-to-be-Latina skin. Piddy, whose heritage is Cuban and Dominican, is off balance even before Yaqui’s threat. Her developing body, her best friend’s happy new life in a better neighborhood, her unknown father, and her exclusion from the Latina lunch table all challenge her sense of identity. As Yaqui’s threats become real and hallway harassment escalates into violence outside of school, Piddy’s fear and loneliness become palpable. Her old neighbor Joey, whose abusive home makes him no stranger to violence, offers Piddy solace in touch without asking questions. Yet Piddy’s reluctance to reveal the bullying to family and friends only adds to her feeling of helplessness. Her hard-working, ever-anxious mother; her mother’s glamorous best friend; and even the women at bustling Salon Coraz├│n, where she works on weekends, can help tether and support Piddy if she can bring herself to speak the truth. Meg Medina masterfully touches on many themes--class, ethnicity, individuality, identity, bullying—in this gritty yet refreshingly realistic story that is not without humor or hope. She introduces a rich and diverse Latino community full of multi-dimensional characters and complex lives, and acknowledges there is no simple solution to Piddy’s situation. But it begins with breaking her silence. (EMT) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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