WATER IN MAY by Ismée Williams
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 12 - 18
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Debut author Williams creates an unforgettable young character who will make readers reconsider their assumptions about teen moms, in particular Latina teen moms.

Fifteen-year-old half-white, half-Dominican Mari is a fighter. Fiercely loyal and often combative, she knows exactly who she is and what she wants. And what she wants is a baby who will give her the kind of unconditional love she’s never had. But when she learns that her baby has a congenital heart defect and finds herself unsure of the support around her, she must make a choice about how she’s going to summon that fighter’s spirit for the sake of her baby and her future. Full of spot-on cultural texture and packing an emotional punch, this is an unusual take on the teen-pregnancy problem novel. Mari’s is a voice and path that are often dismissed or derided, but Williams presents her experience in a way that demands not pity but respect while also reminding readers of Mari’s heartbreaking youth and innocence at unexpected times. Even if readers don’t agree with or even like Mari, her tenacity and humanity are undeniable. The book includes a lot of Spanish (unfortunately italicized), which adds to the authenticity of the story and the high expectations of the read.

Fierce and tender—and absolutely worth reading. (glossary of Dominican words) (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2539-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2017


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