Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Meg Medina
Winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré Author AwardIn Meg Medina’s compelling new novel, a Latina teen is targeted by a bully at her new school — and must discover resources she never knew she had.One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.


Reviewed: 2016-08-16

YDWTKYA is most definitely a book I would never have read on my own, however I need to confess that I did enjoy reading it. The story played out beautifully and I really felt bad for Piddy Sanchez as her life continued to get complicated and harder. Just looking at the long and provoking title of the book, one might be able to tell that this book is about bullying. Piddy is forced to deal with Yaqui Delgado, a bully who comes after her for really no reason other than being a pretty girl. Yaqui makes Piddy’s life hell; she is attacked and robbed of a precious chain in the school hallway, she is threatened by Yaqui’s crew, she is the victim of a cruel lunchroom gam, and finally, she is assaulted by Yaqui in an ambush on the street at night. Piddy has an extremely hard time with family issues as it is, and the bullying just makes it way worse. Meg Medina really strikes at your emotional strings when she writes things like Piddy thinks it will get worse if she reports it, because that is the exact thing kids fear and it is not true with the way that schools handle bullying cases now. With news reports about bullies pushing their victims to the point of suicide or violent retaliation, a book like this is a real eye opener for this horrific crime that many kids commit. In the book, Yaqui is the embodiment of a classic bully; relentless, unsympathetic, and just outright cruel. However, students face bullying that’s just as bad and it can come in a number of other ways, sometimes ways that the bullies themselves don’t even see themselves as being mean.

Bullying, and how many young girls struggle with the challenge of handling it, is just one of the themes. Other topics in the book include life as a young Cuban-American teenager, the difficulties and “coming of age” that high school presents, and family issues. I was really hesitant to read a book about the challenges of being the young teenage daughter of a Cuban immigrant woman, but after the first chapter the book really pulled me in. I embraced the drama and really cared for the main character and her problems. Being a high school teacher too, it did feel like an “inside look” at the life of a teenage high school girl. I know that sounds weird, but I think it was actually a great way to learn about the people I work with every day and how what kind of problems they might be having and their thought process in going through these challenges. The one character I really liked was Lila. Every time she spoke and did some sort of dramatic dialogue with another character, I pictured “Gloria” from the tv show Modern Family. The book also gave me a little better of an understanding about Cuban-American culture, and I like learning about cultures I don’t know a lot about. For example, how the hair salon is a sacred place for many of Hispanic women was something I found interesting.

I also believe this was the first book I read that was about and written by a Hispanic woman. The book did win the Pura Belpre Award.I would recommend this book to freshmen girls especially; I do think young boy teens might not want to read this book, though.

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