Monday, August 3, 2015

A Great Title About Bullying and Identity


Source: Author Website
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (Candlewick, 2013, 272pp.)
 
When Piddy Sanchez, a Latina of mixed heritage, relocates to a new high school, all she wants to do is focus on her studies so she can get into a good college. Unfortunately, with her light skin, no accent, and good grades, she sticks out like a sore thumb, and quickly attracts the attention of Yaqui Delgado, one of the worst bullies in school. Soon, Piddy finds herself doing anything she can to avoid Yaqui’s slaps and hair-pulling, even if it means skipping school and falling behind in class. Although the school has a strict “No Tolerance” policy against bullying, she’s afraid going to the principal will only make things worse. What can she do? Getting yelled at by her Cuban mother is the least of her worries, especially since Yaqui Delgado has made it her personal mission in life to kick Piddy’s ass!

In recent years, the issue of bullying has been brought to the forefront of media attention following a series of high-profile teen suicides, and because of this, the book’s publication couldn’t be more perfect. In its candid examination of Piddy’s situation, the novel serves as both a rallying cry against a major social problem, as well as a reassurance to victims that they’re far from alone in their predicament. Fans of diverse literature will also be pleased by the rich cultural details Medina adds to her story, as well as Piddy’s own ponderings of what it means to be Latina. While it’s a book that could benefit teens of all ages, the ass-kicking Yaqui promises turns out to be especially rough, so that, along with some language and a romance scene between Piddy and a childhood friend, pushes the book into the 16-18 age bracket.

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