cover image All You Knead Is Love

All You Knead Is Love

Tanya Guerrero. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-374-31423-1

Twelve-year-old Alba Green has no interest in leaving New York City to spend the summer in Barcelona with Abuela Lola, whom she hasn’t seen in most of a decade. But when her emotionally distant mother sends her off, Alba—who is a quarter Filipino and a quarter Spanish (and presumably half white), and who prefers her short, messy hair and vintage David Bowie tee to more femme-presenting clothes—has no choice but to comply. Initially wary of her grandmother’s warmth, Alba slowly begins to trust, learning how to bake bread from her mother’s dearest childhood friend, Toni, and finding out about her mother’s life before Alba’s “controlling, abusive jerk” father demanded that her mother cut ties with her past. Guerrero (How to Make Friends with the Sea) layers her contemporary novel of leavening a life with references to heritage, interweaving Catalan, English, Spanish, and Tagalog with deliciously described dishes and vivid imagery of Barcelona’s neighborhoods to reinforce the theme of community’s importance. Difficult topics, such as the effects of abuse and child neglect, are handled authentically through the eyes of a preteen girl without belittling the complicated emotional ramifications she experiences in everyday interactions. Back matter provides translations to non-English phrases. Ages 8–12. Agent: Wendy Schmalz, Wendy Schmalz Agency. (Mar.)