ANGEL DE LA LUNA AND THE 5TH GLORIOUS MYSTERY

The multilingual text will be a stumbling block for many readers, but it’s a vivid portrait of a culture, with particular...

Adolescence, family issues, music and revolutionary politics all sink sharp hooks into a Filipino teenager at the beginning of the 21st century.

Related with a rich mixture of English, “Taglish” and Tagalog dialogue, Angel’s tale begins with the sudden loss of her Papang (father) and the ensuing departure of her Ináy (mother) for America. Switching time and locale halfway through, Angel flies from Manila to Chicago two years later, just before her 16th birthday, only to discover that she has a new stepfather and baby brother. In a narrative rush propelled by grief and anger, Angel chronicles hard times struggling to support herself, her little sister, Lila, and her grandmother Lola Ani while attending a convent school run by activist nuns who lead politicized students out in demonstrations against the Estrada regime. In Chicago, she conducts a cold war at home while facing culture shock and sparking a student walkout at her new school. In both countries, Angel is deeply embedded in webs of close-knit community and extended family. References to then-current politics mix with explicit, shocking testimonials from elders who were brutally used as “Comfort Women” by Japanese soldiers in World War II. Along with these, Galang folds Filipino food, dress, sights and customs into her narrative. As a result, and particularly because the meanings of the non-English lines and expressions are not always clear in context, events and characters are often outshone by their milieu.

The multilingual text will be a stumbling block for many readers, but it’s a vivid portrait of a culture, with particular focus on its women. (afterword, study questions) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56689-333-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Coffee House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

INDIVISIBLE

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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DIVINE RIVALS

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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