A month ago, my bestie Esther tagged me on a Facebook post that listed Bitch magazine's list of 100 YA feminist books. Being an avid YA reader, I looked through the list and realized I have not read enough YA books O_O which means that I need to expand my horizons and read beyond YA sci fi and fantasy. I specially need to be reading xicana/latina YA lit. Sadly I've only read 3 books on the list, which makes me wonder WTF have I been reading. lolz.
Esther told me about some controversy involved with the list, oh I remember, there were some people who complained about three books on list in the comments section and Bitch pulled off these books from the list because of violence in their stories. OMEGA QUADRANT. If you are interested in reading about the controversy just click here.
I'm going to try to read the books on this list and I don't know what my goal will be but I'm not sure that I can read all 100 books in a year. I can however check off one book from the list this month: Estrella's Quinceañera.
This novela about Star's 15 (quince) hit very close to home, not because of the quince drama but because of the mother-daughter dynamics that are too common in the Mexican culture. Star's mom started thinking about her daugther's 15 from the day she was born, my mom thought about it and talked about it for a long time and guess what? I have a three year old and I've began to think about it. Not only do I think about it but I'm planning a mini version for her 5añera. (Thanks Myra for the great idea) This will be the trial version. I'm thinking that for her actual 15 I need to starting saving now. We will have to organize a second one for her in Mexico so the family can come, I'm getting padrinos for that one fo sho.
The book made me think of the intense beliefs and the beautiful culture of hermandad y solidaridad we have and that the Televisa telenovelas are very apropos or maybe that's where we learn our behaviors.
Intense beliefs when it comes to the uptight and rigid standards set on daughters and not sons by mothers who themselves did not live up to those standards. Like when I found out a few years ago that my grandmother had eloped... why did we make a big deal when my sister eloped? Or when I moved back home after college and my parents didn't let me come home too late. Because I was a young lady with "buenas costumbres" (good customs). Yeah, right. I moved out. Mexican daughters have a hard time leaving home specially when it comes to going to college outside of the city you live in.
Beautiful culture when it shows how we all unite to make a celebration happen, how we support family or how we rally around causes.
Another thing I could relate to in the book, were the race dynamics between white and brown. Those who resist the white-washing of our culture and those who want to be white (highspanics)/accepted by white society. Fortunately there was acceptance and respect at the end of the story but how much of it is there in reality?
I think about race a lot not just because I'm a woman of color but because I'm raising a mestiza that looks white... and I often wonder how her struggles will be different than mine.
All in all this is simple story that exposes a little bit about our culture to the YA readers. It shows a glimpse of the challenges we all face in a coming of age story and I recommend it.