THE REVOLUTION OF EVELYN SERRANO by Sonia Manzano
Kirkus Star

THE REVOLUTION OF EVELYN SERRANO

Age Range: 12 - 18
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Set in 1969, Manzano’s first novel offers a realistically mercurial protagonist struggling with her identity in Spanish Harlem.

Fourteen-year-old Rosa María Evelyn del Carmen Serrano is frustrated with life in El Barrio. Tired of working for her mother and stepfather in their bodega, she takes a job at a five-and-dime and hopes to trudge through the rest of the summer. Everything changes when her abuela arrives, taking over Evelyn’s bedroom and bearing secrets of the family’s involvement in Puerto Rico’s tumultuous history. When a group called the Young Lords begins working to bring positive changes to the neighborhood, some residents are resistant, including Evelyn’s mother. Led by her grandmother’s example, Evelyn begins to take an interest in the efforts of the activist group. As the months pass, the three generations of women begin to see one another’s perspectives, and Evelyn realizes the importance of her Puerto Rican heritage. Like most real-world teens, she changes subtly, rather than through one earth-shattering epiphany. The author effectively captures this shifting perception in the dialogue and Evelyn’s first-person narration. Secondary characters of surprising dimension round out the plot and add to the novel’s cultural authenticity, as do the Spanish and Spanglish words and phrases sprinkled throughout the text so seamlessly that a glossary would be moot.

A stunning debut. (author’s note, recommended reading) (Historical novel. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-32505-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Scholastic
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Kirkus Interview
Sonia Manzano
author of BECOMING MARIA
September 22, 2015

Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx is the new memoir by Sonia Manzano, well-known as Maria on Sesame Street. Set in the 1950s, Becoming Maria is the story of a girl with a dream. Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving but troubled. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. Each day she is glued to the TV screen that blots out the painful realities of her existence and also illuminates the possibilities that lie ahead. But—click!—when the TV goes off, Sonia is taken back to real life: the cramped, colorful world of her neighborhood and an alcoholic father. But it is Sonia’s dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times. “In stark and heartbreaking contrast to her Sesame Street character, Manzano paints a poignant, startlingly honest picture of her youth,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >

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