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Cuba 15

Reviewed by Administrator on January 20, 2011.

Violet has just turned fifteen. Among Latin Americans, this birthday is a milestone, and is marked by the quinceanera, a huge celebration -- complete with the guest of honor decked out in a frilly dress. Violet's Cuban grandmother is enthusiastically planning the event, but the teen is not so keen on the whole idea. After all, who wants to "stand up in front of everyone you know, in a ruffly dress the color of Pepto-Bismol, and proclaim your womanhood?" Violet turns for support to her "progressive" Polish-American mother and socially conscious best friend Leda, but even these counted-on allies are in favor of the idea. With an "if you can't beat them, join them" attitude, Violet decides that if she must go through with the event, she will, but it will be on her terms. Her determination and sense of humor make it an occasion to remember.

Nancy Osa's debut novel paints a humorous portrait of the year in the life of a bright, likable teenager, her quirky extended family, and the friends and teachers who make up her world. Characterization is priceless; even minor players come to life. Readers are sure to recognize Violet's relatives in their own family trees. 277 pages. Ages 13 up

Recommended by Barbara Karp, Librarian.

 
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