I really love Pen. She's determined, strong-willed, and has a big heart for her community. Her desire to take over her father's Mexican restaurant is pushed aside when she's fired after lying about going to college to become a nurse. Here's where the story could have shown Pen becoming bitter and wallowing. No, she continues to fight for what she wants and goes out of her way to prove her worth. **The one scene on how she handles a racist interviewer is perfect!
Xander's one big desire is to find his missing father and have a true sense of family. Once he meets Pen, there is chemistry. Nothing too fast, but rather slow-building. The relationship isn't sugar-coated either. Together these two tackle Pen's father's refusal to see Pen's true worth. Plus, they also support each other on their own dreams.
There's mention of various authetic Mexican dishes and pastries throughout. One huge plus of this novel is how it doesn't shy away from issues of racism, depression, and gentrification. I loved the chemistry between Pen and Xander!
Unforgettable tale that shows the bitter as well as the sweet of not only a relationship but what family really is. Added points for an authentic portrayal of a Chicanx family with characters that are endearing. Loved.
2. Strong Chicanx protagonist
3. Amazing portrayal of Mexican foods