Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your AssFeatured
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.
“Yaqui” follows fifteen year-old Piedad Sanchez (aka Piddy) as she enters a new high school and becomes the unfortunate victim of the school bully’s attention. Yaqui, said school bully, is convinced that Piddy is going after her man, Alfredo. But Piddy hasn’t spoken a word to him, and wants nothing to do with Alfredo, Yaqui, or her new school. Piddy’s own body is working against her as she grows into womanhood, and can’t stop boys like Alfredo from catcalling her and scrutinizing her new curves.
The action that ensues as Piddy tries to avoid the torments of Yaqui and her cronies is touching, heartbreaking, and educational. What I love the most about this book is it’s a book about bullying without saying, “Hey kids, don’t bully.” Rather than say that sometimes ineffective message, Medina shows readers the effects of bullying and lets teenage readers decide on their own if they want to be the vehicle for so much pain in a peer’s life. Medina also empowers victims of bullying by being realistic that no matter what city you live in or high school you attend, there will always be people who like to bring others down, and it’s how you bravely, responsibly, and safely approach bullying that can help create a positive outcome.
Piddy’s story also serves as a look into the Latin American community. Medina lets readers experience the food, dress, and language of Piddy’s Latin roots, but also portrays how multiculturalism and diversity is so much more than what can be taken at face value. Piddy discovers that it is the shared experiences and heritage of her community that makes her Latina, not the darkness of her skin or how thick her accent is. This is an important message for teen readers as their generation is the most ethnically diverse of all, and an understanding of diversity is crucial as they become leaders in a multicultural society.
For those parents out there worried about profanity, you ain’t got nothing to worry about. Sure, there is the “A” word in the title, but that’s the only curse word used throughout the book. Rather than being gratuitous cursing, using the word “ass” is a way to point to how classless Yaqui is and the fact that she has to use violent intimidation to have any sort of power among her peers. In the end, this is all Yaqui has, and Medina shows it is Piddy’s intelligence and ability to communicate maturely that will allow her to succeed in her future.
Filled with distinct characters, fantastic voice, and a multitude of tearjerker moments, “Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass” is one butt-whoopingly great read.
A look into Latin American communities.
A relatable protagonist with a distinct and solid voice.