Monday, January 22, 2007
Alegria, Malin. 2006. ESTRELLA’S QUINCEANERA. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0689878095 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
Estrella is turning fifteen and her mother wants her to have her Quinceanera celebration with all the trimmings—a mariachi band, cheap decorations, and a hand-me-down ugly orange dress that her cousin wore for her celebration. Estrella, who goes to a private school, wants a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant. No one at school knows that she lives in the barrio and she wants to keep it secret. Her father, while not against the Quinceanera, is aghast at how much money is being spent, money they do not have to spend. Enter Speedy, a “cholo” (thug, gangster) who Estrella begins dating and problems with her “old friends” from the barrio and her new friends at school, and things are about to get ugly. What’s a girl to do?
Estrella takes things into her own hands and finds a way to keep the family happy and her Quinceanera from being a disaster. She discovers that her old and new worlds do not have to be kept separate and that she can straddle both lives. The plot moves swiftly with a wonderful blend of humor and seriousness that should appeal to any female reader—not just those of Hispanic heritage.
Use as a stepping stone to consider “coming of age” experiences, both formal as Quinceanera, bar and bat mitzvahs, first communions and confirmation, and informal as in getting a driver’s license or a first job. What does it mean to become an adult?
Other books about Quinceanera:
Lopez, Adrianna. FIFTEEN CANDLES: 15 TALES OF TAFFETA, HAIRSPRAY, DRUNK UNCLES, AND OTHER QUINCEANERA STORIES. ISBN 006124192X
By Janet Hilbun