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THE SECRET STORY OF SONIA RODRÍGUEZ by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

THE SECRET STORY OF SONIA RODRÍGUEZ

By Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4231-1072-9
Publisher: Hyperion

Sonia Rodríguez is the American-born daughter of illegal Mexican immigrants. Her hardworking father struggles to support the family while her pregnant mother stays in bed watching telenovelas and calling out for her daughter to run errands or do chores—tasks that her brothers are not expected to complete. Despite her duties at home, Sonia struggles to keep up with her schoolwork. When she rebels, her mother sends her to spend the summer with her grandmother in Mexico, a punishment that turns into an idyll, and rests as the strongest part of the book. When she returns, Sonia must confront her alcoholic uncle’s unwelcome advances and find her place in the world. While the first-person voice attempts color and authenticity, the secondary characterizations rely on stereotypes about Mexican Americans. Although Sonia pays lip service to confronting these early on, attempts to provide complexity are undercut: Her religious aunt and perverted “drunkle” have no redeeming qualities, and her father approaches the saintly. Sonia’s perspective is necessarily subjective, but her own development as a character fails to bring needed balance to these depictions. (Fiction. YA)