By Diana López
Little, Brown Young Readers
Reviewer: Jo Ann
Apolonia Flores is the hero of this book. Her father says about her first name, “It’s the girl form of Apollo. He was the god of the sun. Get it? It’s my way of calling you a sunflower.” Parents! What can a teen do with them? Gratefully, everyone calls her Lina. Vanessa is her best friend, who lives across the street.
Thankfully this book is not about gangs, migrant farm workers, or crossing the border. It’s a regular book about a regular family in a regular neighborhood where the girls go to a regular school with regular problems. Do I seem a bit obsessed with regular? This is a beautiful story of a girl who has lost her mother and needs her father. Her father in his grief has immersed himself into books. How does she go about reaching through those books to her father, who holds them up in front of him? She thinks: “I see a body, a neck, and a book where his face should be.”
I enjoyed this book so much because the writing was good and the story was so real. Lina struggles with Vanessa’s breaking away from their best friend status to date a boy. The girls plot to help Vanessa’s mom. Lina grapples with how to approach a boy she likes and isn’t sure whether he likes her. The whole issue of losing a parent is dealt with in two ways: lost by death and lost by divorce. The plot of this story is the generational age dilemma of any teen and their parents: how do you reach each other to an understanding of what each needs. The ending is hilarious and would make any therapist proud.
I had read The secret blog of Raisin Rodriguez : a novel by Judy Goldschmidt and was so disappointed. Because the book’s attempts to make Raisin, just like any other girl. Seems the author created a character with no ethnic roots. I’m not talking about being a Pocho or not knowing or hiding that she is Latina. I mean the things that she worries about are just too white. With Lina, the author, Diana López, did a sensational job of presenting Lina in her environment with everyday teen problems and yet embracing her culture background. Nothing in the story was too heavy or pushed on you about culture. Even the whole discussion about cascarones was more about the girls’ story than about the history of cascarones.
I believe that the community, any and all of us, are in dire need of more books like Confetti Girl by Diana López. Stories that portray us as people with hurts, joys and loves, just like everyone else in the world in any skin color. I encourage you to rush out and buy this book. Because buying this book would show the world how proud we are of being Latino/a, of how much we support our Latino/a authors, and of how much we need and want “real” stories about ourselves doing life. Read and enjoy!
Jo Ann Hernandez has two published works: White Bread Competition and Throwaway Piece. Read more about Latino writers and books at BronzeWord Latino Authors. Enter Jo Ann's Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway, too.