A Puerto Rican teenager spends the summer working in her father’s South Bronx supermarket, where she experiences myriad unfortunate developments.
Margot Sanchez is being punished for stealing her father’s credit card by working at Sanchez & Son’s Supermarket. Accustomed to the whitewashed scenery of Somerset Prep, the brown-skinned teen now has to put up with her older, violent brother who lost his wrestling scholarship and got kicked out of school. Margot's machista dad oversees the store, while her submissive mother stays at home. With secondary and tertiary characters aplenty, turbulent relationships abound at the workplace, among friends and family, and threaten a gentrifying neighborhood. As seen through narrator Margot’s eyes, the characters are often unapologetically, stereotypically flawed: the men are macho or players; the rich, white youth are privileged and usually ignorant; the Latinas are mostly sassy and full of attitude, but at other times they are submissive. In this coming-of-age novel, Rivera touches on countless problems: trust issues, family grief and disappointment, domestic violence, verbal abuse, socio-economic woes, love affairs, a neighborhood undergoing gentrification. Rather than delving into these issues, readers are flung from one plot point to the next, as if running through a checklist of conflicts: drunken sex, drugs, violence, theft, lies. Unitalicized Spanish and Puerto Rican colloquialisms are generously woven into the text, as are slurs in both English and Spanish.
Not only is Margot experiencing an identity crisis, the book is too. (Fiction. 14 & up)