The Princess of las pulgas
She's called "Princess" at her new school because of her aloof attitude. Things quickly go from bad to worse. Her brother Keith becomes angrier and causes bad vibes at their new school. Her beloved cat goes missing. When Carlie and Keith search for her cat they are ejected by gunpoint by a cowboy on his property. But when she comes home later to find that same cowboy having coffee with her mother, Carlie finds out that in Las Pulgas nothing is what it seems.
I really liked Carlie. At first her whole attitude about moving to Las Pulgas was kind of snobby. Losing her beloved father to cancer and then having to move due to financial difficulites would be hard for anyone.
Carlie's strengths are how she reconnects with others, including her mother and brother who are also having a tough time adjusting.
I liked how Carlie slowly was able to see who her real friends were. The people she meets in Las Pulgas aren't the stereotypical gangbangers. Each one of them strengths and vulerablities. Jeb, the gun toting cowboy who in his own gruff way looks out for them; Juan, who's not all he seems; and even Quicken the cat. Her English teacher has a To Sir with Love feel to him and a very surprising revelation.
The character that was most surprising was K.T. At first I was thinking oh, no, here's the cliche tough chica but K.T. ends up showing her strengths in surprising ways. One way is how she shares something with Carlie.
This is a great coming of age story that explores such issues as loss, moving, and prejudice.
The Princess of Las Pulgas is about a girl who lost her dad to cancer and then is forced to move to Las Pulgas. Her mother tries desperately to keep up with the mortgage in Channing but with the medical bills left behind and the cost of the funeral she finally decides they have to move to Las Pulgas and she has to get a job. The move devastates Carlie and her brother Keith. The school is dangerous, their apartment complex is dangerous and they feel their lives are now an embarrassment. Carlie is nicknamed Princess because she puts on the snob attitude when she arrives at Las Pulgas.
This book was a very meaningful story about how to keep on moving forward after devastation. I won this book and had it sitting on my shelf for a while before picking it up because I have also lost a dad to cancer; I really wanted to read this story but I was also very nervous! The struggles Carlie went through were very realistic to life, the anger towards her father for dying-check, the anger towards herself for being mad at her dad and mom-check, the frustration with how her life will never be the same-check, and the pushing everyone away because you are scared they'll die to-check.
What I liked most about this book is the accurate portray of what a family goes through after a death like this, the mom, brother and Carlie were all very realistic characters and my heart went out to the family and the issues they were dealing with! I loved that Carlie stood up for herself too! I thought the story line was pretty unique with the added story about Carlie being in a play and the issues her brother went through too!
What I liked least about this book was the friends/people in Carlie's life. I really disliked the character of Lena, she was obnoxious, annoying and really reminded me of a 13 yr old girl instead of 16. I was also disappointed about Sean; I won't go in to why because I don't want to spoil the book but it was displeasing to me that he is the only nice guy in Carlie's life. I also felt like the secondary characters were just not well-developed. I wanted to love Juan, K.T. and all the rest more than I did but there just wasn't much to go on to fully love them!
I can't imagine dealing with the death of my dad without the help of God and that was the one thing lacking from this story, I would have loved to see Carlie turn to prayer to help her get through her pain but that is just my opinion.
All this being said, I would recommend this book to YA readers, especially those dealing with the loss of a family member or the stress of changing schools in high school. The book was clean for all those interested in knowing that.