Synopses & Reviews
Estrella Alvarez is turning fifteen, and she's not happy about it. For as long as she can remember, her mother has been planning an elaborate quinceañera, complete with a mariachi band, cheesy decorations, and a hideous dress. Estrella is so over it. She'd much rather have an understated dinner party at a posh restaurant downtown -- that way, she can invite her two best friends from private school, who have no idea Estrella lives in the barrio. Even though Estrella tries to keep her home life a secret from her school friends, things get even more complicated when she falls for Speedy, a cholo whom her new friends -- and her parents -- would definitely disapprove of.
Caught between her family's wishes and the allure of her sophisticated friends, Estrella is forced to make some tough choices. This funny, touching book follows one girl's struggle to figure out who she really wants to be.
"First-time author Alegría delivers an upbeat story about the joys and frustrations of being almost 15 and straddling two cultures. Estrella lives with her tightly knit Mexican-American family in San Jose's barrio. Her mother is in the midst of planning Estrella's quinceañera, a cultural tradition for girls turning 15 that publicly acknowledges their entrance into womanhood. (The heroine, however, has a different take on it: 'The way I see it, it's just a lame party with cheesy music and puffy princess dresses.') Estrella, who narrates, agrees to a 'small' party, but her mother spins out-of-control, planning the biggest quinceañera in the history of the barrio. Estrella, meanwhile, has begun attending a private school (on scholarship) and feels ashamed of her background. She calls herself Star (the English translation of her name) and yearns for a life like that of her wealthy classmates, Christie and Sheila. When Speedy, a former classmate from the barrio, pursues Estrella, she becomes confused. Being with Speedy, Estrella can be herself, something she finds impossible around Christie and Sheila. After a humiliating experience at Christie's party, Estrella finally embraces her heritage, and two old friends help her plan a small quinceañera. At times the dialogue grows preachy, and Christie and Sheila's approval of Estrella seems out of character. However, teens will identify with Estrella's struggle to accept herself. Readers who enjoyed Viola Canales's The Tequila Worm may well be drawn to Alegría's colorful descriptions of life in the barrio and her fluid use of Spanish words throughout the narrative. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this touching debut novel, Estrella Alvarez is about to turn 15, and there's nothing her meddling mother and T'a Lucky want more than to throw her a gaudy "quinceaqera"--a party that Estrella would rather avoid. Young Adult.
About the Author
Malín Alegría is the author of Estrella's Quinceañera. She is an accomplished educator, dancer, and actress who has cowritten and performed in several stage plays. Ms. Alegría lives in San Francisco.