Gabi, A Girl in Pieces
Just about everything! Told in journal format, readers are able to get a glimpse into the cultural expectations to be the 'good' girl while Gabi just wants to know what her place is in life. She loves a good flaquita, her best friends Sebastian(who has his own issues with coming out), Cindy, and writing poetry.
I loved seeing into Gabi's life, which rung so true to me. As a former bilingual teacher, I not only taught Mexican-American students but was able to visit their families. So many of the portrayals of this community were so real--the fear of a daughter leaving home, a bossy, judgmental relative using the whole guilt trip if you even thought of a boy, wondering if you're 'bad' to think about kissing a boy, and challenging the whole 'boys will only be boys' mentality after a friend confesses a terrible event. Kuddos for Quintero for not flinching at so-called sensitive tops like rape, homophobia, and racism in a non preachy way!
It would have been easy to make Gabi the stereotypical chola-gang girl-but instead Quintero fleshed her out by not only showing her strengths but some vulnerabilities that teens will relate with. Her struggles with wanting to be skinny but loving to eat; loving her drug addict father; and wanting to get out of her town but scared to leave her friends/family behind.
I loved the whole voice of this novel so much. Reading it had me craving those homemade green tamales one of my former parents used to make for me every Tuesday. This novel is rich with insights into a very real teen who comes at age at the end of the book. I loved Gabi and know if I was a teen, I'd totally hang with her. I know readers will come to love her too!
This book was fascinating to me because her Mexican-American world is so different from my own WASP upbringing. The blatant sexism in attitudes and rape culture in Gabi's life astounded me, and I loved the way she questioned it and responded to it with her thoughts and poetry.
The book is diary-style in nature, and there is no big climax. It's just a teen girl, going through life, and trying to help her friends thought life as they encounter pregnancy, rape, homophobia, parental drug use, death of a family member, and consider college.
Her writing is thoughtful, funny, and entertaining, and I feel like big themes and big issues are handled in a really excellent and responsible way.
Overall a fantastic and valuable book.
Entertaining to read
Valuable insight to Mexican American family culture
Important teen themes addressed including teen pregnancy/homosexuality/safe safe/rape/drugs