By: Meg Medina
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Book Provided By: NetGalley
One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is. (from goodreads.com)
I loved this book. Loved. Even though it's about a latina teen trying to find her place in a new school- the story itself is universal and so many kids (and adults) can relate. Everyone has those moments where they don't fit in and too many kids find themselves in situations where they are the target of a bully. Piddy is forced to just try to survive every day without being physically and mentally assaulted, and the rest of her world begins to spiral out of control.
Medina does a great job showing how bullying can change who you are, how you see yourself and how you interact with the world. You begin to believe what people are saying about you and you begin to become someone new. You can become the person they think you are, or you can retreat and pull yourself away from everyone. Watching Piddy trying to figure out what to do was very interesting and a good reminder of what kids go through every day. I saw myself a bit in Piddy, but more then that I saw my students. They deal with things outside of school that I can imagine, but I can't even begin to understand. The fact that they show up everyday, the fact that Piddy tries to keep moving forward, is a testament to their strength.
The secondary characters in the story are also top notch. The people around Piddy all seemingly want the best for her, but they each have their own ways of doing it. Her mother wants to keep moving forward without ever looking back and that hurts Piddy, who desperately wants to know who her father is. Her mother so desperately want's something more for Piddy and doesn't want Piddy to make the mistakes she did, that she doesn't see her daughter falling apart in front of her. Piddy's friends, especially the neighbor boy who she grew up with, offer her an escape when things get bad. They don't pressure her to say what's wrong, because they are all t familiar with what pain looks like. I don't want to give much away on this book. I enjoyed going on the journey with Piddy too much and I don't want to ruin that for anyone else.
This is another one that I will be adding to my library collection for next year.