I finished reading this book several days ago. As is rapidly becoming the norm, life has been too hectic for me to sit down and type up my little review. So, I am just now getting to it.
I neither loved nor hated this book, but rather, I thought that it was a decent effort at a type of tale that isn’t published often enough.
It’s the story of a teenage girl who is kicked out of her catholic school and out of her home because it is discovered that she is in love with another woman. After her own mother tells her to leave, Laura is taken in by her best friend and her mother. She decides to not continue school in the fall, and instead drops out completely and works fulltime for a landscaping company. Over the next couple of years, Laura learns to accept who she is, and that family is not always blood related.
What makes this story so unique? Not only is it a young adult novel with a lesbian as the main character (and whose friends cover many other fractions of the GLBT community), but it is also the story of a young Latina woman. So….that means it is the story of a teenage Latina Lesbian – something that isn’t found often on most of the big publishers’ new release lists.
What I didn’t like about the story:
I barely speak Spanish, having forgotten most of what I learned in high school and college. Thankfully there was a glossary in the back. However, the amount of Spanish in this book was a bit overwhelming. I felt like I was flipping back and forth over and over again. Additionally, the main character’s way of talking included a lot of nicknames for her friends. It’s confusing and annoying.
Now…I have a million and one names for my sweet little pup at home; however, most people can tell you that his name is Spike – even though I often call him Rooni, Spikerpup, Stinkeroo, Roo, Puffybutt, Little Boy, Baby boy, Crazy pup, etc. etc. etc.
I couldn’t tell you the name of Laura’s dog. And she talks to/about him often.
Additionally, the story just seemed too…too something. I can’t place my finger on it. Which is one of the reasons this was a difficult review to write! Perhaps because the primary characters were all over the top in some way, and it distracted me too much – especially in addition to my previous comments – from the story of a young girl coming of age and realizing who her true self really is.
So…my final statements:
Libraries who have a decent sized Hispanic population should buy this book.
Libraries who are lacking in GLBT young adult fiction should buy this book.
But, the audience is not “mainstream”. As someone who isn’t in the GLBT or the Latina categories, I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters.
One last but…
I would read another teen novel by this author. I hope she will continue to write similar themed novels, but perhaps some that will appeal to all types of readers.
ETA: I found out after writing this post that Down to the Bone is on the 2009 Best Books for Young Adults nominations list.