Books by Gloria de Aragón Andújar

Released: Nov. 1, 1993

In a bilingual flip-flop edition, a novella contrasting two 14-year-olds who have one fleeting but decisive encounter in a Texas mall where both have come for tools of their trade. Mexican-born Rosa, who has no green card and whose only English words are "foul" ones learned from her customers, works as a prostitute, the only job available to her; she sends as much money as she can back to her mother and clings to the idea of the baby Jesus, since she's sure the adult one would condemn her. Traci's mother, calling her "present marriage" ideal, insists that "how popular you are in high school and later, who you marry—all of that is determined now." Traci must get on the cheer-leading squad, and to that end she has closets full of clothes and spends hours on her makeup. In alternating chapters, Paulsen draws the circumstances of both girls' lives with insight, compassion, and enough outrage to stir the reader (without quite weakening his case by overstatement); in the end, the girls' meeting is an epiphany for Traci, who—at least for the moment—understands that "That girl and I—we are just the same." For Rosa, it's a tragedy: Traci's mother hands her over to pursuing guards, who have recognized her for what she is by her dress. Simplistic, perhaps, but still a riveting and accessible portrayal that's sure to lead to useful discussion. (Fiction. 12+) Read full book review >