Synopses & Reviews
Named to Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014
Named to School Library Journal Best Books of 2014
Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn't want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it's important to wait until you're married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, "Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas." Eyes open, legs closed. That's as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don't mind it. I don't necessarily agree with that whole wait until you're married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can't tell my mom that because she will think I'm bad. Or worse: trying to be White.
Isabel Quintero is a library technician in the Inland Empire. She is also the events coordinator for Orange Monkey and helps edit the poetry journal Tin Cannon. Gabi is her debut novel.
"Quintero's first novel quickly establishes a strong voice and Mexican-American cultural perspective through the journal of intelligent, self-deprecating, and funny Gabi. The 17-year-old is navigating considerable conflict both at home and in her social life: her father is addicted to meth, while Gabi's strict mother pressures her to conform to her own views of their heritage and values. Gabi, who seeks comfort through binge eating, wants to grow up on her own terms, and she explores her awakening romantic and sexual feelings by writing poetry. Quintero unsentimentally confronts a gay teenager's coming out, teen pregnancy, date rape, abortion, addiction, and other topics while sketching the contradictory pressures facing Gabi, who feels caught between two worlds ('Being Mexican-American is tough sometimes. Your allegiance is always questioned'). Gabi's letters to her father are particularly moving, and her narration is fresh, self-aware, and reflective. The intimate journal structure of the novel is especially revealing as Gabi gains confidence in her own integrity and complexity: 'I guess there is more to this fat girl than even this fat girl ever knew.' Ages 14 up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Readers won't soon forget Gabi, a young woman coming into her own in the face of intense pressure from her family, culture and society to fit someone else's idea of what it means to be a 'good' girl. A fresh, authentic and honest exploration of contemporary Latina identity." Kirkus Review
Winner of the 2015 Morris Award for Debut YA Fiction
"One of the year's finest young adult novels." Largehearted Boy
"Believing she's not Mexican enough for her family and not white enough for Berkeley, Gabi still meets every challenge head-on with vulgar humor and raw honesty
A refreshing take on slut- and fat-shaming, Quintero's work ranks with Meg Medina's Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass and Junot Diaz's Drown as a coming-of-age novel with Latino protagonists." School Library Journal, starred review
"Meet Quinteros 'fat girl' Gabi, eating and starving and fighting and writing her way through the crushing pressures of high school boy desire, religious approval and Mexican cultural taboos. I cannot think of any book today for young adults as voracious, bold, truthful and timely." Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of California
"Readers won't soon forget Gabi, a young woman coming into her own in the face of intense pressure from her family, culture and society to fit someone else's idea of what it means to be a 'good' girl. A fresh, authentic and honest exploration of contemporary Latina identity." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Quinteros first novel quickly establishes a strong voice and Mexican-American cultural perspective through the journal of intelligent, self-deprecating, and funny Gabi." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Reading Quinteros debut is like attending a large family fiesta: its overpopulated with people, noise, and emotion, but the overall effect is joyous." Booklist, starred review
"Told through Gabis diary, the book is tragic, hilarious, and always whip-smart. Its also, Im sure, one of the most diverse and all-encompassing YA novels out there." John Hansen, The Guardian
"While reflecting the specific experiences of one overweight, Mexican-American teenager, Quinteros debut novel addresses a number of universal themes, from family relationships to sexual exploration. Gabis voice, as expressed in her diary through poetry, prose, lists, and overheard conversations, is funny, smart, full of wonder, and brutally honest." VOYA Magazine, starred review
"Gabi's voice is a completely bicultural and bilingual voice, so throughout the novel, you will have Spanish and English the way it's really spoken in our families it's this crazy sort of Spanglish mix. And she's bold. She will say the quote-unquote unthinkable things about her body, about sexuality, about the crazy, dual sets of rules for Latino boys and girls.” Meg Medina, author of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, for NPR
"Quinteros novel shows that some of the most interesting, innovative, and honest titles come from the small press world.
Award committees take notethis is an amazing novel from a bright new star." Lyn Miller-Lachmann, The Pirate Tree
"The author creates a strong sense of character and realistically portrays Gabis challenging settings. The way [Isabel] Quintero portrays the heroines moment-to-moment moods feels completely authentic." Susie Wild, The Harold Sun
"California high school senior Gabriella (Gabi Hernanadez) is caught between not being Mexican enough and gravitating toward the things white girls do at least according to her mother. To make sense of her world, she keeps a journal about her own struggles with self-esteem and related weight issues, also writing about her best friend Cindys pregnancy and her other best friend Sebastians coming out to his family." Karen Hildebrand, Literacy Daily
Wish this book had been around during my angst youth, but at least you can pick it up now and revel in the authors grace and humor in dealing with very heavy subject matter. Isabel Quintero reminds us of the transformative power of journal writing, as well.” Stacey Lewis, City Lights Publishers
"Isabel Quinteros young adult novel 'Gabi: A Girl in Pieces' centers around a young, light-skinned Mexican-American girl.
Like Gabi, I feel I need to prove my identity all the time." Melissa Lozada-Oliva, The Guardian
2015 Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
2015 Tomás Rivera Book Award, Works for Older Children
2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
2015 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, Top 10 Selection
Amelia Bloomer List, part of the American Library Association, Social Responsibilities Round Tables Feminist Task Force
Booklist Best Books of 2014
School Library Journal Best Books of 2014
Gabis a girl in pieces. She wants a lot of things. Will she find the thing she needs most?
About the Author
Isabel Quintero was born and raised in Southern California. Her love of reading and writing comes from her mother reading to her before she went to bed, and from the teachers and professors who encouraged her to keep writing. Her love of chorizo and carne asada tacos comes from her dad grilling on Sundays during summertime. She is an elementary school library technician and loves sharing her passion for the written word with students. She also teaches community college part time and works as a freelance writer for the Arts Connection of San Bernardino. Quintero works as events coordinator for Orange Monkey Publishing and assistant editor for Tin Cannon, a literary journal. She still lives in SoCal and enjoys going on adventures with her wonderful husband, Fernando.