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The 2001 winner of the Delacorte Press Prize for a First Young Adult Novel tells the story of a girl who while preparing for her 15th year celebration--her "quince"--probes into her Cuban roots and unwittingly unleashes a hotbed of conflicted feelings about Cuba within her family. Young Adult.
"Osa's picture of family life is fresh and funny; Violet is a strong, assertive female lead with a dynamic supporting cast of family and friends. The first-person narration is a comic delight, blending raucous physical comedy with gentle teasing regarding the idiosyncrasies of Violet's family and friends..."
From the Publisher
Violet Paz has just turned 15, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quinceañero. But while Violet is half Cuban, she's also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family's passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, and dancing to Latin music, Violet knows little about Cuban culture, nada about quinces, and only tidbits about the history of Cuba. So when Violet begrudgingly accepts Abuela's plans for a quinceañero-and as she begins to ask questions about her Cuban roots-cultures and feelings collide. The mere mention of Cuba and Fidel Castro elicits her grandparents'sadness and her father's anger. Only Violet's aunt Luz remains open-minded. With so many divergent views, it's not easy to know what to believe. All Violet knows is that she's got to form her own opinions, even if this jolts her family into unwanted confrontations. After all, a quince girl is supposed to embrace responsibility-and to Violet that includes understanding the Cuban heritage that binds her to a homeland she's never seen. This is Nancy Osa's first novel.From the Hardcover edition.
Violet Paz's Cuban grandmother is determined to make her submit to the traditional Cuban 15th birthday party symbolizing her blossoming into womanhood, an elaborate ritual in which Violet, who never wears dresses, must wear a frilly ruffled gown the color of Pepto-Bismol. Violet's mother is Polish and Violet feels completely American, and her father angrily refuses to talk about their Cuban heritage. Matters only worsen when Violet chooses to make her family the butt of the jokes in her school comedy monologue. It helps as she explores her Spanish roots when she realizes that her friends' families seem just as crazy, regardless of their cultural backgrounds. A 2004 American Library Association Notable Children's Book.