Medina, Meg. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Candlewick Press: New York, 2014. ISBN 978-0763671648.
Piddy Sanchez is told that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t know who Yaqui is. As she continues to face harassment at school, all while balancing good grades and a job, she tries to figure out how to survive. As the harassment continues, it starts to take over her life, and she’s not sure how she’ll survive.
This book was wonderful! Pura Belpre winning novels tend to be spectacular, and this one is no exception. The novel is wonderfully written. The characters, even the background characters we hardly see, are very well developed. The book flows well and keeps up a nice pace. I didn’t fly through it, but I didn’t feel like it was dragging either.
This book is more culturally specific than other books I’ve read. It included a lot with the characters. Latino culture was completely immersed in the book, which made me happy.
This is your basic coming of age novel, but with a Latin flair. The Spanish used in the book is wonderful. Just enough to give it a good taste. The context clues worked well enough for you to know what the words mean if you don’t speak Spanish.
I think the portrayal of the Latinx community in this book was spot on.
Piddy moves to a new school where she seems to be immediately hated, and starts receiving harassment. Between that and her ever straining relationship with her mom and best friend, she struggles to figure out who she is.
The struggle our main character goes through is one millions of kids all around the world go through. Figuring out sexuality, who you are as a person, parental relationships, and bullying are all topics we are very familiar with. This makes for a character everyone can relate to.
This was a very good book about growing up and becoming yourself, and I highly recommend it.
“Medina authentically portrays the emotional rigors of bullying through Piddy’s growing sense of claustrophobic dread, and even with no shortage of loving, supportive adults on her side, there’s no easy solution. With issues of ethnic identity, class conflict, body image, and domestic violence, this could have been an overstuffed problem novel; instead, it transcends with heartfelt, truthful writing that treats the complicated roots of bullying with respect.”
From Kirkus Review
“A nuanced, heart-wrenching and ultimately empowering story about bullying….Interweaving themes of identity, escapism and body image, Medina takes what could be a didactic morality tale and spins it into something beautiful: a story rich in depth and heart…Far more than just a problem novel, this book sheds light on a serious issue without ever losing sight of its craft.”
From School Library Journal
“The Latino cultural milieu adds a richness and texture that lifts this up above many problem novels. The plot points are dexterously intertwined, and the characters are distinct. A real bonus for those looking for a bullying book for older readers that is not simplistic.”
Other books by Meg Medina:
Burn Baby Burn ISBN 978-1511371872
The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind ISBN 978-0763664190
Mango, Abuela, and Me ISBN 978-0763669003
Books with Latino Characters:
So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez ISBN: 9781416911890
More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera ISBN: 9781616955601
The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano ISBN:9780545325059
What’s been your biggest trial so far in your life? Have you overcome it, or are you still facing it? How did you beat it, or how do you plan to?