Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina




    If you can get past the aggressive title, this book will charm you, tug at your heartstrings, and offer many insights about how it feels to grow up in Latina/Latino culture in New York City. Of course, the Pura Bel Pre medal sticker on the book, won in January, 2014, might assuage the shock of that last word.

    But who is this Yaqui Delgado? Piddy Sanchez is starting her second year of high school in a new neighborhood. It's bad enough that she has left her old friends behind, but on the first day of school, another girl tells her that this girl, Yaqui, has it in for her. Piddy has to figure out how to deal with this threat, but her fears and some early incidents make things really difficult.

    While being raised by an overworked single mom, Piddy works part -time on Saturdays at Salon Corazon, and has a supportive adult friend in Lila, one of the shampoo girls. However, the tense realities of bullying can turn even the smartest students into stressed people. Piddy makes several choices as she tries to handle the threat of violence, gaining a sense of independence despite the real challenges she faces.

   The author of  this book, Meg Medina is a Cuban- born American who lived in Queens as a girl, and now makes her home in Richmond. Spanish words and song titles are sprinkled through out the narrative, giving us an authentic soundtrack to the story.
If you want to read more about how teens deal with bullying, try Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance, and Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell their Stories.

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