* Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
by Meg Medina
High School Candlewick 261 pp.
3/13 978-0-7636-5859-5 $16.99 g
e-book ed. 978-0-7636-6354-4 $16.99
A move to a new neighborhood in Queens means a new high school for almost-sixteen-year-old Piddy (short for Piedad) Sanchez. Instead of a welcoming committee, she gets word that someone she doesn't even know has it in for her. Yaqui Delgado turns out to be one of those girls Piddy's mother calls "nobodies," or, as Piddy explains it, "They're her worst nightmare of what a Latin girl can become in the United States. Their big hoop earrings and plucked eyebrows ... their tight T-shirts that show too much curve and invite boys' touches." Yaqui may think she's tough, but it's Piddy and some of the other female characters, namely Piddy's mother and her mother's flamboyant best friend Lila, who make more lasting impressions. Medina's setting stands out as well, especially her portrayal of the bustling Latina-owned beauty salon, Salon Corazon, where Piddy works on weekends, folding towels and sweeping up hair. It's here where Piddy overhears unsettling gossip about her mother and father, a man Piddy has never met--gossip that makes her question whether her mother is as virtuous as she purports to be. As the bullying intensifies, so do Piddy's fear and lack of self-worth, to the point that she's soon spending more time retreating from her life than living it. Is it easier to give up and become a "nobody," or should she fight back? Teens will identify with Piddy's struggle to decide.