cover image Miss Quinces

Miss Quinces

Kat Fajardo. Graphix, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-338-53559-4

New Yorker and aspiring graphic novelist Suyapa Gutiérrez, the protagonist of Fajardo’s solo debut, would rather spend her 15th birthday reading manga than dancing in a “weird poofy dress” at a quinceañera. But on a family trip to visit her mother’s family in Honduras, Sue learns that her mother has already planned the celebration—with a pink princess theme—and invited 100 guests. Sue’s beloved artist grandmother proposes a compromise: if Sue has the quinces of her mother’s dreams, she’ll get to attend sleepaway camp with friends. But as the family prepares, her grandmother’s health takes a turn, making for a very different kind of ceremony. Choppy-haired, bespectacled Sue, who prefers black to pink and longs for more independence than her protective parents allow, embodies challenges that will be recognizable to many. Fajardo is sympathetic to the entire extended family: Sue’s parents make concessions to the individual she’s becoming (she receives a pair of construction boots, not pumps, for the celebration’s shoe ceremony), and Sue learns to cherish family tradition en route to appreciating her Honduran heritage. A slightly redundant travelogue, Sue’s creation for class, concludes; Fajardo closes with photos from her own quinces and a glossary. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Linda Camacho, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (May)