Dreams of Significant Girls

Cristina Garc%C3%ADa. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4169-7920-3
In this standout coming-of-age novel beginning in 1971, García (I Wanna Be Your Shoebox) hones the voices of three characters from vastly different backgrounds who forge transformative friendships over three summers in an exclusive Swiss school. As the rebellious, sexually adventurous, and acerbic 15-year-old Ingrid observes, "Whoever thought that Switzerland was the epicenter of neutrality never spent time in a fancy girls' boarding school there." Together, Ingrid; studious Shirin, from a well-born Iranian family; and Cuban-born Vivien navigate romantic entanglements, test boundaries, uncover budding passions (Vivien is a burgeoning chef, while Ingrid discovers a talent for photography), and help each other through crises. The girls' personal awakenings feel organic, and the narrative handles mature themes well, including abortion, family connections to Nazis, and sexual awakenings. García's boarding school setting feels vibrantly alive, an international home away from home that readers should find as magical as do the protagonists. The structure—in three books, each with an epilogue—feels a bit neatly packaged, but the power of sisterhood and female friendships shine. Ages 12–up. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-1-4169-7930-2
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4169-8587-7
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