Its the summer after her first year in high school, and all Mariana RuÃz can think about is her best friend Madisons upcoming Sweet Sixteen. Its going to be the event of the summer with every perfect detail catered to Madisons expensive needs. But then Marianas parents force her to accompany her brother Vince on a summer-long vacation to Puerto Rico. Mariana is outraged and devastated; she doesnt understand why she has to miss her friends birthday blowout to spent time with Puerto Rican relatives shes never met before and frankly has no desire to meet. But she has to go, against her will, and at first, Puerto Rice is everything Mariana has dreaded: conversational limitations due to the language barrier, cramped quarters she has to share, and muggy weather. But gradually, Mariana realizes she cant spend the summer pining for her hometown and its luxuries and stars to embrace her family and her ethnicity. And she just might get some new friends in the bargain.
Amor and Summer Secrets was a cute and well-written story. I really liked Marianas character; sure, she was spoiled and annoying at times, but she knew her flaws and genuinely tried to be a good person. I could easily relate to her struggles, especially the ones involving her family, friends, and boys. The problems Mariana deals with may see a little generic, but Wallach presents them in a realistic way that makes them appear fresh. I wouldve liked more development of the minor characters, particularly Lilly and Vince, because they were hard to understand at times, but their characterization was in the end adequate. I also liked how Mariana grew to accept and love her cultural identity. And of course, theres enough romance, drama, and secrets to keep the plot interesting.
I definitely recommend Amor and Summer Secrets and cant wait for the sequel, Amigas and School Scandals. Fans of Cruel Summer by Alyson NoÃ«l and Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs will also enjoy this novel with similar themes.
reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com