Well worth reading; a welcome addition to any bookshelf.



Twenty original contributions by Mexican American authors about growing up in the U.S.

In a note to readers, editor Longoria describes feeling compelled to create this anthology as she saw Mexican Americans being attacked and derided in the media. The result is this collection of short stories, personal essays, graphic stories, and poems by Mexican American authors. The standouts here pack a real emotional punch. Awareness of the impact of socio-economic status often takes center stage, and several pieces are set in the Rio Grande Valley. Protagonists vary in age from middle school through adult and are predominantly mestizx. “The Body by the Canal,” by David Bowles, is not to be missed and, along with “Coco Chamoy and Chango,” by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, brings queer representation to the project. The opening story, “Ghetto Is Not an Adjective” by Dominic Carrillo, successfully cannonballs into the deep end of the social justice pool, while “Morning People” by Diana Lopez wades into the murky waters of the taboo. “Yoli Calderon and Principal Hayes” by Angela Cervantes offers an exemplary use of the first person, and both “This Rio Grande Valley” by Daniel García Ordaz and “Sunflower” by Aida Salazar are full of beautiful imagery. “Ode to My Papi” by Guadalupe García McCall and “La Princesa Mileidy Dominguez” by Rubén Degollado both tug at the heartstrings. The variety of narrative styles contributes to the broad appeal of this volume.

Well worth reading; a welcome addition to any bookshelf. (contributor bios) (Anthology. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20497-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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