Release Date: March 26, 2013
In Meg Medina’s compelling new novel, a Latina teen is targeted by a bully at her new school — and must discover resources she never knew she had.
One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is. (courtesy of Goodreads)
I generally read reviews and synopses of books extensively before I go into them. So rarely am I surprised by what I find. For this book, I went into it blind. All I'd heard was that it was a good book, plus I'm trying to read more diversely. From the title and the cover, I expected this to be a funny, sarcastic romp. It definitely is not that.
This is a horrifying read of bullying and torture for absolutely no reason. Piddy is a good girl. She studies hard, gets good grades, works hard, is close to her mom - basically she is a normal, nice girl. All this changes when she is targeted for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. Bullying isn't a good word for what happens to Piddy. It's emotional abuse. Terrorization. This is a criminal level of harassment. It is really difficult to read.
You might think from the previous two paragraphs that I didn't like the book. Actually, I really liked it. Enjoy isn't the right word, because it's a hard book, but it's a very well crafted novel. Meg Medina does a wonderful job on showing how the abuse Yaqui Delgado inflicts changes Piddy. Piddy's unfortunately justified fear makes her into a different person. What's worst of all is that It felt very real and not at all sugar coated.
I also loved the relationship Piddy had with her mom and her mom's best friend Lila, who is basically like an aunt. Piddy's mom works hard, but is very caring and strong. Together with Lila, she provides a really supportive home for Piddy. Ostensibly, that doesn't help Piddy at all up against Yaqui, but I think it actually does - it gives her a strong base of love.
The book is very well written. I read the entire thing on a four hour plane ride. It flows well - essentially from one horror to the next. I hated seeing what was happening to Piddy, but I had faith in her and kept reading to see how she could gain some control of the situation. My only complaint is the addition of the sorta boyfriend, the local bad boy, Joey. He was tied into the plot well and served to highlight aspects of Piddy's character and family ties, but ultimately he felt tacked on. Like the typical - I have to have a love interest in a YA book.
You should definitely pick up this book. It's very well written and has great character development in Piddy and her family. Just don't expect fluffy bunnies. It's horrific and anyone who has been through any sort of bullying will unfortunately relate.
Recommendation: Buy-ish. Maybe borrow. Could go either way.
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