Title: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
Author: Meg Medina
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Piddy Sanchez is in trouble. Her mother recently moved them out of their old crumbling apartment, which means Piddy has to change schools mid-year. Worse, she soon finds out that the wrong girl hates her- Yaqui Delgado. The problem is, Piddy doesn’t even know what Yaqui looks like. Not that it matters to Yaqui. Piddy soon finds herself the victim of a malicious gang of girls, and must do what she can to protect herself. Piddy dons a hard mask, begins skipping school, and becomes a girl her own family doesn’t recognize. She swears she is never going back to school again. When a concerned classmate reports Piddy’s problem to the counselor, she at last gains the confidence to speak up to the adults in her life. In the end, Piddy has to learn what is important, and decide what kind of person she wants to be. She decides to be someone she is proud of, someone not afraid to dance to her own rhythm.
I recently went looking for this title at Half Priced Books. I couldn’t find it on the shelf, so I decided to try my luck asking a very knowledgeable looking clerk shelving books. When I told him that I was looking for a young adult book by this title, he asked, “Are you sure this is young adult with THAT in the title?” I assured him that it was, and that it even won the Pura Belpre Award. Needless to say, we were not able to locate this title in the store, but I soon found it at my local library, in the young adult section. Well- I loved it. In fact, it might be my favorite book I have read thus far this summer. Piddy Sanchez’s story was captivating, to say the least. Told in first person point of view, this title follows the thoughts and fears of a Cuban American teenager, who is having trouble with the other girls at her new school. I’m normally not fond of reading young adult titles written in first person, however this one was an exception. Piddy’s conversational style of storytelling added humor to the text, and made the story seem much more realistic than it would have otherwise. The problems that Piddy faces throughout the story are problems that every teenager will relate to, and connect with. Teenage girls will find it especially powerful, and culturally diverse teenage girls even more so. This is a high-low book, meaning it is of high interest to teenage readers, but has a low enough level of vocabulary that struggling readers can read it independently. There is some content that could be inappropriate for younger readers. I highly recommend this title to readers 14 and up.
For Use in the Library:
This is an excellent high-low title to recommend to a reluctant reader, or a teenager who is struggling socially at school.
School Library Journal
( April 01, 2013; 9780763658595 )
Gr 7 Up-Piedad Sanchez moved at the beginning of her sophomore year, and a few weeks into classes at her new school a girl comes up to say that “Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass.” As a first line, it sets the focus for Piddy, who has always had friends, gotten good grades, and managed quite well in her old school. There’s no real reason for the enmity, but the threat is more than real and begins to permeate Piddy’s life. Gradually readers see that her mother’s best friend, who works at a hair salon and has been her support, is the only adult who even has a clue about what is going on. The Queens, New York, neighborhood is solidly Hispanic and the language reflects the culture. Piddy does a downward spiral as the torment gets increasingly worse. The school reaction and the dilemma she faces are realistically portrayed. Yaqui can get to her in and out of school, and she is vulnerable to being terrorized by a whole group of Yaqui supporters. The way that the abuse and threats impact Piddy to try to become a bad girl herself is logically presented. The plight of a pair of abandoned kittens parallels her own loneliness and loss. 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.-Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Edwards, C. A. (2013). [Review of the book Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass, by M. Medina]. School Library Journal, 59(4), 168. Retrieved from https://libproxy.library.unt.edu:9443/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=86694200&scope=site