cover image Divas Don't Yield

Divas Don't Yield

Sofia Quintero. One World, $13.95 (354pp) ISBN 978-0-345-48238-9

Quintero's debut chronicles four college-age Latinas' road trip, a New York to San Francisco sojourn that'll have most readers tuning out before the chicas traverse New Jersey. Quintero's anxious young women misinterpret predictable conflict as epiphanies (one girl wants to keep driving while another wants to stop, and the lesbian realizes she doesn't want her straight best friend to have a boyfriend back home), and other than bickering and an asthma attack (worry not, no one dies), little happens. And, anathema to the road novel, Quintero fails to portray the cities visited, varied though they may be, as anything more than vanilla backdrops. Quintero obviously feels strongly about addressing Latino rights and homosexuality in a mainstream novel, but she lets her agenda hamhandedly steer the book, leaving the characters-and the reader-choking in a cloud of noxious exhaust.