In Sesame Street star and picture-book author Manzano’s (A Box Full of Kittens) first novel, set in 1969 Spanish Harlem, 14-year-old Evelyn Serrano finds a new appreciation for her family and pride in her Puerto Rican heritage amid neighborhood protests. Evelyn is frustrated with her struggling parents, who cling to the old ways of Puerto Rico, and sick of the “El Barrio fart smell of garbage” that makes the summer heat hard to bear. Things hit a fever pitch when Evelyn’s free-spirited abuela arrives to live with them, clashing with everyone. It’s Abuela who tells Evelyn about the 1937 Nationalist uprising in Puerto Rico and how it’s similar to the Young Lords who are burning garbage and occupying a local church to focus attention on the barrio. The knowledge helps bring three generations of women closer as they unite in a common cause. Manzano shines light on a little-known moment in history through the eyes of a realistically mercurial protagonist who can be both petulant and sympathetic. Evelyn’s tale fascinates, ending on a hopeful note. Ages 10–14. Agent: Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/06/2012 Release date: 09/01/2012 Genre: Children's
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