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Estrella's quinceanera
Malin Alegria
Teen Fiction ALEGRIA

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From Publishers' Weekly:

First-time author Alegria delivers an upbeat story about the joys and frustrations of being almost 15 and straddling two cultures. Estrella lives with her tightly knit Mexican-American family in San Jose's barrio. Her mother is in the midst of planning Estrella's quincea?era, a cultural tradition for girls turning 15 that publicly acknowledges their entrance into womanhood. (The heroine, however, has a different take on it: "The way I see it, it's just a lame party with cheesy music and puffy princess dresses.") Estrella, who narrates, agrees to a "small" party, but her mother spins out-of-control, planning the biggest quincea?era in the history of the barrio. Estrella, meanwhile, has begun attending a private school (on scholarship) and feels ashamed of her background. She calls herself Star (the English translation of her name) and yearns for a life like that of her wealthy classmates, Christie and Sheila. When Speedy, a former classmate from the barrio, pursues Estrella, she becomes confused. Being with Speedy, Estrella can be herself, something she finds impossible around Christie and Sheila. After a humiliating experience at Christie's party, Estrella finally embraces her heritage, and two old friends help her plan a small quincea?era. At times the dialogue grows preachy, and Christie and Sheila's approval of Estrella seems out of character. However, teens will identify with Estrella's struggle to accept herself. Readers who enjoyed Viola Canales's The Tequila Worm may well be drawn to Alegria's colorful descriptions of life in the barrio and her fluid use of Spanish words throughout the narrative. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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main characters Estrella Alvarez
Age: 14
Mexican American
Has a scholarship to a private school; conflicted between her wealthy friends at school and her family.

Mexican American
Former grade school classmate of Estrella, who she isn't allowed to see.

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