Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Review - Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your AssYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The only thing wrong with this books was the cover - I would have loved to see Piddy Sanchez there, not an anonymous locker. I am not Latina, but this book took me back to high school, and all the reasons my brain wanted to forget that ordeal. It's more than a book about bullying, it's about believing in yourself, and finding courage, and even, in the case of Yaqui, about having nothing and wanting to tear down those who do, even if there is really no good reason.

Many people are thrilled about stories that feature strong female characters. But we don't always begin life strong, we become strong. And along the way, we often get knocked down, hard. Then we are faced with the hard choices. I like stories that explain how girls gain strength. This is one of them.   Many girls will read this and identify with Piddy's plight. I hope they will also find courage from her.

This story is hard, and tough, and Piddy has to learn some deep lessons about herself and her mother (and father) I cried when she was knocked down by life, worried when she contemplated giving up, and then found myself cheering. I wish every victim could find a source of strength. Maybe what I liked most about the book is that the author did not work a miracle and reform Yaqui to make her see the error of her ways.

This is not a story about a bully. It is about a victim making decisions on how to live her life in an undamaged fashion. Doing the old-fashioned "shake hands and become friends" thing would have trivialized, if not ruined, this story, and left too many young readers saying - adults really do not understand our existence. In real life, the Yaqui's of the world do not experience a revelation. The rest of us have to change and learn how to live with them always around us. Piddy changes, but so do other key players, and maybe that adds the biggest hopeful note to the story.

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