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OSA, Nancy. Cuba 15.

OSA, Nancy. Cuba 15. Random House, Delacorte. 277p. c2003. 0-385-73233-3. $7.95. JS *

To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2003: Fifteen-year-old Violet Paz is caught between the old world of Cuba and her father's family, and the modern world of her freshman year in high school in Chicago. In Cuba, 15 is a turning point for young women, who celebrate their quinceanero with a grand coming-out party where they are introduced as adults to the community. In Violet's circle of friends, no one has ever had such a celebration, and Violet doesn't want one either. As her abuela and her mother start planning in earnest, including searching for the perfect pink dress and finding ways to solicit party funds and supplies, Violet's initial reluctance turns into curiosity about her heritage and the land her grandparents fled so many years before. She takes a closer look at her family--her grandparent's broken speech, the domino tournaments, Tito Puente on the stereo--and creates an original comedy performance for competition as part of the school's speech team. As she struggles in her Spanish class, she decides to learn more about Cuba through a research project and even attends a peace rally with her activist best friend Leda, an act that puts her quince party on the line.

Violet's appreciation for her family and their traditions grows as her skit becomes more and more polished. After she meets with Senora Flora, party planner extraordinaire, Violet realizes that the quince is really a statement about herself, and she decides to make the fiesta her own. The world becomes her stage as Violet embraces both her heritage and her individuality. Readers not only learn about the culture of Cuba, but also brush up on their Espanol as Osa skillfully stitches two worlds together. (An ALA Best Book for YAs.) Michele Winship, Asst. Prof., Capital Univ., Columbus, OH

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.
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Author:Winship, Michele
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2005
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