Belinda Acosta has written a novel that can be used to give a thorough and thoughtful explanation to the question that is asked of Latinas time and again, “What is a quinceañera?” The answer is a simple one or so it may seem…, that of a girl’s celebration of her 15th birthday in the Hispanic culture. A party likened to the coming of age tradition, a Sweet Sixteen, celebrated by many of the US Anglo culture. Yet Belinda has created a deeper appreciation as to what a coming of age Latino celebration truly is, and then some. Simply put, Belinda !se aventó! She has gone all out in giving an emotional, spiritual, and feminine Latina perspective of how it is and what it is to grow up in the US Hispanic culture.
A middle-aged, young Latina, educated, professional, confident woman, Ana Ruiz, fights to preserve her family, her career, her identidad. Every woman’s story, right? Sure, although it has not been written, read, or experienced through a Latino lens, bi-culturally and bilingually. Ana Ruiz and her story may not be different but yet, it is. This is a story that will entertain and enlightened those that live a Latino experience as well as those curious about it.
Well written, effortlessly utilizing two languages, giving the unaware English reader a lesson in the Spanish language and Hispanic culture, Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz will prove to be “the first prick into the cloth to embroider something big and complicated” in a series of Quinceañera Club Novels. Big, yes! Complicated, only in the sense that cultures are intricate as humans are wondrous beings, as well as curious. This late summer light read will not only settle the curiosity question of what a quinceañera is but also instigate a deeper understanding for your Latina neighbor.
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Maritza Fitzgerald Children's Bilingual Writer
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