Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

yaqui delgadoWhen Piddy has to move to a new high school things in her life take a turn for the worse.  Some girls tell her that Yaqui Delgado wants to kick her ass and that she better be scared, because what Yaqui wants, Yaqui gets.  Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is let alone why she would hate her.  It could be that Piddy’s not Latina enough, with her light skin and her good grades.  Or it could be that she shakes too much when she walks.  It might be because Yaqui’s boyfriend is watching the shaking.  Or it could be all of those things, or none of those things.  In the end it doesn’t matter, because Piddy’s life gets overtaken by fear and justifiable paranoia.  And she knows she can’t tell anyone, it will only make things worse.  But when Yaqui finally catches up to her, the marks show, videos go viral making it impossible for her to show her face at school, and she can’t keep it a secret for much longer.

But the horrific bullying and the very real fear and depression that accompany it are not all there is to the story which contains wonderful secondary characters.  There is Piddy’s strong mother who is struggling alone to raise her daughter, and do right be her, while Piddy struggles to understand her mother and know more about the past and her absent father.  There is Lila, an adult refuge for Piddy and her mother’s best friend.  Also strong and sassy, with her line of boyfriends and her cosmetics business, Lila struggles with helping Piddy without keeping secrets from Piddy’s mom.  And there is Joey, a troubled boy with a troubled family, a friend from Piddy’s childhood, and the place where Piddy goes looking for love when her life is overtaken by hate and fear.  And of course, there is Yaqui Delgado herself, acting out on her own fears, overtaken by anger and desperation.

This may be the best book I’ve read in a long time.  Gritty and real, sad and funny, harrowing and triumphant, I loved every moment of it.  Full of sadness and strength, humor and hope, hate and love, the story captivates, makes you weep for Piddy and pray for her survival.  And while the ending is satisfactory, it is not perfect.  But it’s fitting, because life is not perfect, and it certainly isn’t fair, but fairness has little to do with survival.

Title: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
Author: Meg Medina
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Publication: Candlewick, March 2013

Tuesday Top Ten

toptenlightfun

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week the challenge is to create a list of the books that you read when you need to read something light and fun.  My list consists mostly of series and genres that I enjoy in between reading more serious fare, they are always a quick read, enjoyable, leaving me ready to tackle something else.

  1. Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich – My husband always knows when I am reading one of these novels, since this is the one series, without a doubt, that always makes me laugh out loud.
  2. Cozy Mysteries – I am a huge fan of mysteries of all types, series, standalones, fluffy mysteries, and more serious fare.  In the cozy genre some of the authors I go to for a quick and fun read include Alexander McCall Smith, G.A. McKevett, Laura Childs, Kate Carlise, Sue Grafton, Carolyn Hart, Joan Hess, etc.
  3. Not-So-Cozy Mysteries – There are some mystery series that I read that I definitely do not consider light & fun, but that provoke greater thought (Louise Penny, Reed Farrel Coleman, Donna Leon) and require greater commitment from me as a reader.  There are however, a number of darker mystery series that I still consider light & fun reads from the pens of such authors as Lee Child, John Sandford, Jonathan Kellerman, etc.
  4. Picture Books – OK, so if I really need something light and fun, I spend some time with my kids and some picture books.  While there are picture books out there that address very serious and difficult issues, there are many more that are just plain fun (especially Dr. Seuss!).  Let’s face it, even ecological disaster seems lighter when told in rhyme with great illustrations…
  5. SOME YA series – I want to be careful here, because while there is plenty of light and fun reading in the young adult genre, there are also stark, dark, and difficult novels as well.  But I have had fun breezing through a number of YA series including The Hunger Games, Immortal Devices, The Iron Fey, Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, Pendragon, etc.
  6. Beach Books –  You know the books I’m talking about, those great covers showing beautiful beaches and picnic baskets – a chance to get lost in some seaside town where you know the ending is always going to be happy and true love will always prevail.
  7. SOME Juvenile fiction – Like the YA category, this is another category where there is plenty to be found that is serious, but there is also a ton of fun stuff out there with great humor about growing up, families, relationships in school, and friendship.  My Fun Stories to Share post has some of the recent favorites that I read with my kids.
  8. Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz – While this series can be dark and disturbing at times, I always love the quirkiness of Odd which lends levity to otherwise dire situations.
  9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – A childhood favorite, one that I try to re-read every now and then, it is always comfortable and brings me back to my teenage days when I wished to be Jo.
  10. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum – OK, the flying monkeys aren’t really all that bad in the book, and the witch doesn’t even appear until towards the end, but there’s actually greater violence in the book than there is in the movie!  I just finished reading it out loud to my kids for the first time and the world of Oz is always good for escape.  Oh, and by the way, the slippers were silver…