A nuanced, heart-wrenching and ultimately empowering story about bullying.
When 15-year old Piedad Sanchez's mother moves them to another part of Queens, Piddy is unprepared for the bullying that awaits her at her new school. Yaqui Delgado doesn’t know Piddy but decides she’s stuck-up and shakes her ass when she walks—accusations weighty enough to warrant a full-fledged bullying campaign. As her torments escalate, readers feel the intensity of Piddy’s terror in her increasingly panicked first-person narration. Interweaving themes of identity, escapism and body image, Medina takes what could be a didactic morality tale and spins it into something beautiful: a story rich in depth and heart. Piddy's ordeal feels 100 percent authentic; there are no easy outs, no simple solutions. Displaying a mature understanding of consequences and refreshingly aware (no deducing supporting characters’ feelings before the protagonist, here), Piddy also exhibits an age-appropriate sense of vulnerability. The prose is both honest ("growing up is like walking through glass doors that only open one way—you can see where you came from but can't go back") and exquisitely crafted ("Fear is my new best friend. It stands at my elbow in chilly silence").
Far more than just a problem novel, this book sheds light on a serious issue without ever losing sight of its craft. (Fiction. 13-18)