Monday, May 23, 2011

The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Sonía, 16, thinks that sunny metaphors that portray America as a melting-pot are nonsense. Her parents are illegals, driven north by poverty across the Mexican border, but she was born in the U.S. and is determined to graduate from high school. Her struggle is part Cinderella fairy tale and part contemporary immigrant realism, as she is forced to cook and clean for her family and must stay up past midnight to get her homework done. Candid about the prejudice not only toward Latinos but also within the Latino community (her gorgeous, tender boyfriend is Salvadoran, so he must be kept secret), Sonía’s first-person narrative expresses her fury at her family, including her mother, who still doesn’t speak English and treats Sonía as a servant; her macho brothers; and especially her drunk uncle (druncle), who tries to rape her. But Papi works three jobs, and he is her strong support, and after Sonía visits Mexico, she gains new respect for her roots. Sonía’s immediate voice will hold teens with its mix of anger, sorrow, tenderness, and humor.

I would never have picked this book up if it wasn't for a Challenge that I am involved with on Goodreads. I had to find a book on or about Mexico in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Originally I was going to read The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz, but I wasn't in the mood for it.

I had a wander at one of my favorite book stores, The Book Depot, it is a huge store and not the kind of place you can run in real fast, grab a book and leave. So wandering the Young Adult section I found this book.

Picked it up Wed, Friday morning I started and finished on Saturday morning. I just couldn't put it down, it grabbed me right away. Sonja's character was well developed. I felt alot of empathy for her and was rooting for her the entire book. I wanted to give the mother a good shaking and the brothers something else. And of course I wondered about papa, but he did show up (sorry no spoilers here). I loved the ending, thought it was great. On the negative side I think that I would have like to see Sonja stand up for herself, though maybe in that culture it would be a difficult thing to do, I don't know.

One thing I would really like to read is a sequel now.

This book added to Where Are You Reading?

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