Read Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa Online


Violet Paz has just turned 15, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quinceañero. But while Violet is half Cuban, she’s also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family’s passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, aViolet Paz has just turned 15, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quinceañero. But while Violet is half Cuban, she’s also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family’s passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, and dancing to Latin music, Violet knows little about Cuban culture, nada about quinces, and only tidbits about the history of Cuba. So when Violet begrudgingly accepts Abuela’s plans for a quinceañero–and as she begins to ask questions about her Cuban roots–cultures and feelings collide. The mere mention of Cuba and Fidel Castro elicits her grandparents’ sadness and her father’s anger. Only Violet’s aunt Luz remains open-minded. With so many divergent views, it’s not easy to know what to believe. All Violet knows is that she’s got to form her own opinions, even if this jolts her family into unwanted confrontations. After all, a quince girl is supposed to embrace responsibility–and to Violet that includes understanding the Cuban heritage that binds her to a homeland she’s never seen. This is Nancy Osa’s first novel.From the Hardcover edition....

Title : Cuba 15
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385732338
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Cuba 15 Reviews

  • Casey Strauss
    2019-03-31 17:15

    Violet Paz, the 15 year old narrator of Cuba 15, is finding herself in the middle of preparing for her quinceranero, a traditional party thrown for fifteen year old girls in Latin American countries. The problem? Violet has no interest in celebrating. Wearing a pink dress and a tiara in front of all of her friends and family is the last activity she would ever want to participate in. She is more interested in her speech team, her friends, and American culture. Violet’s father is from Cuba, while her mother is Polish American. Throughout the story, Violet learns more about a culture that at first seems so foreign to her.Nancy Osa has created a strong voice in the character of Violet. The writing is often witty, and Violet’s sense of humor is illustrated throughout the book. She is a typical teenager, with the typical worries, yet she is trying to figure out what culture she feels she fits best; American or Cuban. There is conflict between Violet and her father as she is looking for answers and desires to know more about his life growing up in Cuba. Violet is surrounded by her Latin American culture, and when she takes a Spanish class, she desires to know more about where she is from. The character of Violet shows growth throughout the story, as she learns more about her roots and where her family is from. Seventh graders and up would enjoy reading this coming of age story, discussions of acceptance, understanding, and cultural diversity could tie into the novel. This is a realistic fiction novel that many cross-cultural students will relate to. Readers, who enjoyed Pam Munoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising, would also enjoy this story, told also from the point of view of a strong female voice coming of age in America.

  • Erin
    2019-04-23 21:59

    This was a cute book about a thouroughly Americanized half Cuban/half Polish girl whose family wants her to embrace some of her Cuban roots. I thought it showed pretty accurately how many mixed race kids are often taught to ignore their white side as not having a culture. It also showed the difficulty of refugees assimilating to America and was a good portrait of friendship, although the praise of Che Geuverra, who murdered millions of people was nauseating. No one teaches that side of the story.

  • Daniel Garcia
    2019-04-05 17:10

    Allow me to start off by saying that this is nowhere near the genre of books that I usually enjoy to read, so it's something out of my comfort zone. However, I surprisingly enjoyed the book very much and continued to read it until the end. I highly encourage everyone to read this book of and read something from a different genre. "Cuba 15," written by Nancy Osa, is a book that begins with Violet's grandmother wanting to plan a quinceañero for Violet because she feels that it is a necessity. In her grandmother's eyes, it is a transition from being a child into womanhood. Since her grandmother is Cuban, she finds this practice should be done whenever someone turns 15, though, in the eyes of Violet, she feels American and isn't looking forward to it. After much talking and having to discuss certain specifications with her family, Violet agrees to have her quinceañero with some of her own rules. Violet also does not know much about her culture, so she resorts to having to do research and reading a book on what occurs during a quinceañero. Throughout the book, Violet attempts to understand her family and the culture while preparing and performing a comedy sketch inspired by her family. Soon enough, Violet's perspective begins to change as she starts to realize and learn what it really means to have a quinceañero and accepts the idea. Overall, Cuba 15 is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading because it was something that I am not normally used to, so it gave me insight to a different type of book. Additionally, Nancy Osa includes humor in the book to get the reader hooked and feel as if they are part of the story, which was very effective in my opinion. I would recommend this book to anyone who feels that they would like to learn a bit about a different heritage and would like to have some laughs as well.

  • Aly Gutierrez
    2019-04-16 18:05

    • Book summary-This is a wonderful multicultural coming of age story. Violet is the protagonist of this story and she did not know much about her Cuban culture. Her grandmother convinced her to have a quinceanera, even though she fought through the whole process. Did not want the big sparkly dress and definitely did not want to get escorted by a boy. Though, throughout the planning of her party, she learned a great deal about her culture. By the time her party came around, she was excited. She now has a new boyfriend, and is more connected to her Cuban roots. • Pura Belpre Honor Award• Grade level, interest level, Lexile -750L 6th-8th grade.• Appropriate classroom use (subject area) -Read while learning about other cultures. Learning multiculturalism is essential in our multicultural society. • Individual students who might benefit from reading -Students that are Hispanic and know about a quinceanera will greatly enjoy learning about the culture and read this coming of age story. • Small group use (literature circles) -After reading, students can analyze the events that occurred and what they learned about her Cuban culture. How might her family and culture relate to yours? What did you find interesting after reading?• Whole class use (read aloud) -After reading, ask students what they found interesting or if there was anything that they could relate to. • Related books in genre/subject or content area-“Quinceanera means sweet fifteen” by Veronia Chambers is another good book for the students that are interested in reading more stories about girls and their quinceaneras. • Multimedia connections -Available with Kindle or as a paperback copy.

  • Ruhama
    2019-04-23 00:53

    A rollicking look at the Cuban quinceanero, a special ceremony for girls who turn 15. Violet Paz is half Cuban, half Polish, and her father’s mother has decided Violet needs to have her quinceanero, though Violet barely speaks Spanish, knows little of her Cuban heritage (her father is quite close-mouthed about it) and Violet dislikes almost all aspects of the traditional party (especially having to wear a dress). Violet learns to love her family and her heritage, though it takes joining the speech team to do so. Violet is picked to do Original Comedy, and she creates a routine that personifies her family perfectly—right down to the accents hergrandparents have. In the end, Violet has her quinceanero the way she likes it—wearing pants—and her whole family learns more about themselves and how to share with one another.Osa has written a fun story (parts of the story are laugh-out-loud) that shows the ups and downs a family, particularly a biracial family, goes through, particularly when one family member is a teenager. Violet’s character grows and changes through the course of the novelat a believable rate, and the characters around Violet are not cardboard cut-outs, including her little brother, her best friends, her new boyfriend and her extended family. Spanish phrases are sprinkled throughout and fit the text accordingly. Even readers who aren’t in a blended family will enjoy this title.

  • 595AJ_Lourdes Ryczek
    2019-03-30 16:57

    I was interested in this story because Violet is half Cuban and half Polish. just like my children. Her Cuban grandmother wants to celebrate her Quince/15th birthday with a traditional Cuban party. What the story doesn't explore is that long ago young ladies were presented in society at these sorts of parties. It was a right of passage, a way to show that your daughter was grown up, a woman. In many cases, ready for marriage! As a modern Cuban myself, I refused to have this sort of party because I didn't agree with this mentality. Quince parties have become an embarrassment in the culture. Many times, families have extravagant parties that they cannot afford. It has gotten out of hand. Violet's party was moving in just that direction. My favorite part of the book is the exploration of three generations under on roof. It reminded me of my childhood in that way.

  • Sylvia
    2019-04-14 20:10

    Three and a half stars is about right. Terrific story - lots of information about bicultural families, a bit slow in parts. Ages 12-14 is most appropriate for this book but it's a good, solid read for those who enjoy contemporary family and teen stories. The Cuban father and the American mother are firm and loving and wacky, a welcome change from so many of the teen angst books with dysfunctional or non-existent parents. This book is also completely free of violence, swearing, and any inappropriate situations. Learn about Cuban tradition and music - read this book.

  • Petra
    2019-04-12 19:05

    Cuba 15 reminded me of a 15-year-old version of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," with a quinceanera instead of a wedding. It was entertaining, with a relatable premise, but to be perfectly honest the jokes weren't all that funny, and the writing seemed a little perfunctory at times. I was happy to find that it didn't include much swearing, which gets tiresome after a while. Overall, it wasn't a waste of time to read, but I think I could've found something better.

  • Raquel Castaneda
    2019-04-24 17:50

    I like this books so far because it has to do with a girl that barely became 15 and her Cuban grandmother wants her to have a quinceañera. The thing is that she doesn't want one because she doesn't like dresses & it doesn't fit her personality. While planning she's starting to get to the idea of actually wanting one. I can't wait to finish it!:)

  • Crystal
    2019-03-25 18:53

    I really enjoyed this fun coming-of-age novel. Violet Paz is a character that brought smiles to my face over and over again as she prepared for her quince. She is half Cuban and half Polish and is working out what that means. There is a nice dose of humor throughout the book.

  • Brittany Rubio
    2019-04-25 20:14

    As a half-Cuban, half-Polish girl myself, I knew I had to check out this book (even if I'm a good decade older than the protagonist). It's a cute coming-of-age story that I feel like was pretty accurate to my own early teen years in the late 90's/early 2000's before my friends and I were consumed with the internet and were still fairly innocent as we crossed from middle school into high school. I never had a quince myself, but what really hit home with me was the relationship that the older generations of Violet's family had with Cuba, the history, current relations with the US etc. which is also pretty true of my own family. The culture is very, very strong at home but Cuba itself is a very sore subject and was not often talked about unless we were reminiscing about pig roasts or some such. The book did drag in parts, but I liked how the culture was woven in and became a major topic of conversation at the end, not only because Violet starts asking more serious "adult" questions and takes the initiative to learn more on her own, but because it also broaches the subject of relations between older and younger generations, and how that relates to experience and understanding as well as communication.

  • Larissa
    2019-04-19 21:09

    It was cute! Honestly there was a lot of queerbaiting lmao but it's whatever...I appreciated the mixed-race Latina representation (especially with two cultures that aren't often paired together--as a Polish-Brazilian-American I loved this) and the main character opens up a conversation I would've loved to think about in early high school.

    2019-03-27 22:16

    Great coming of age story from a different culture's perspective!

  • Lucy Gensler
    2019-03-29 18:16

    This book is a great story, with lots of laughter and coming of age. I quickly fell in love with the characters, and was sad to end the book! Overall a wonderful novel, and I hope to read more by the author!!

  • Esmeralda
    2019-04-13 17:10

    Cuba 15 is a story of a girl named Violet Paz. She is half Polish on her mother’s side and also half Cuban on her father’s side, which is where the idea of having a quinceñero rises from. As mentioned in the book, a quinceñero (or quince) is a tradition in most Latin American countries where family and friends will organize “a fifteenth-year coming-of-age ceremony” where they guide a young woman into adulthood. Violet isn’t the type of girl to wear dresses and celebrating her quince años was something she never would have thought of until her Abuela (grandmother) mentions it. She isn’t all too enthusiastic about this type of celebration especially because she is already 15 years old, but she reluctantly accepts her Abuela’s proposal on organizing her quince. As she starts to learn more about the traditional quinceñero, she starts to question her Cuban roots, and turns to her dad for answers. He himself is not about to provide her with any information since he left Cuba at a young age, and doesn’t want to talk about anything related to the political issues that were occurring in Cuba at the time. Violet then starts to question her aunt Luz about her Cuban roots and she then tells Violet about the issues that happened in Cuba and introduces Violet to the culture, such as the music. Violet starts to learn more about her Cuban roots and then starts to change the way she feels about celebrating her quince, now she feels more excited and is looking forward to the day of the celebration. As she continues to learn more about Cuba, Violet joins a speech club with her close friends (and 'damas' for her quince) Leda and Janell. It is in this speech club that she meets a boy named Clarence and their relationship start to develop. Although her father was okay with her being in a speech club, Violet’s father did not approve of her learning about her Cuban roots and threatens to cancel the celebration of her quince, but her mother talks to him and explains to him that he cannot stop or hide Violet from learning about who she is and about the things that occurred in Cuba. In the end Violet’s family continues on with the plans for her quince and it turns out to be a great day for her, Abuela changed a few things to the dress she was going to wear, making her quince something that reflected who she truly is. The theme for this story would be that you cannot try to hide who someone is, for they will always find out who they truly are and their roots. In the text, Violet’s father tries to hide the history of Cuba from her and refuses to let her learn about her Cuban roots, but in the end, she learn about her roots thanks to her aunt that seems to be more open about the culture of Cuba and its history. At the beginning of the story, Violet didn’t care much about celebrating her quince, but over time, as she started to find out who she really was, and her roots, her way of thinking changed. She started to like the idea of having a quince and in fact, she was shocked and upset when her father threatened to cancel her quince. By the end of the story, Violet was more mature and had a different form of thinking. I would recommend this book to girls who may be unsure of whether or not they would want to celebrate their quince or for anyone who would like to read a book that has humor, expresses the importance in knowing about where you are from, and shows how important family can be.

  • Jamie
    2019-04-24 18:02

    Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa is a story about Violet Paz who is half Cuban half Polish. Her grandmother insists that Violet will have a Quinceanero which is a cuban celebration for a girls 15th birthday. The age when a girl enters womanhood. In Violet's circle of friends no one has had this type of celebration. Despite being of mixed backgrounds, Violet feels completely American, so she does not want to have a Quinceanero. She even thinks about how much she will dislike standing up infront of everyone in a pink frilly dress, but her mom also insists she have this party. Violet speakes little Spanish knows very little about her Cuban heritage. Since she must have this party, she decides to learn a little about her heritage and Cubancustumes. In the process, something amazing happens, she finds out more about her identity. She finds out that she does not have to make the celebration so traditional, and picks an "All the worlds' a stage" theme. Her friends help her with this. As she is preparing for this celebration, Violet studies and writes about her family to help her understand them better. In addition to this planning she writes a comedy speech for a speech tournament, and uses her family's domino games as part of the comedy material. She even participates in a rally for Cuba. Ultimately, Violet realizes that she is made up of past and present cultures. This is who she is.Again there is a text to world connection here as a young girl finds out that heritage is a huge part of who she is, even if she feels 100% American.I feel that this goes on real life as many people aren't truly aware of their heritage, on decide to learn more about it later in life.I rate this book 5 stars. I really enjoyed how violet started to learn about her Cuban heritage, and it helped her realize its part of who she is. I recommend this book for any teen who maybe curious about their own identity.

  • Tiana
    2019-04-01 21:52

    Cuba 15, by Nancy Osa, is about a girl named Violet Paz who is half Cuban and half Polish. She struggles to get more in touch with her Cuban side, after being exposed to the American culture. When her grandmother, who is Cuban, wants her to have a Quinceanera. A Quinceanera is a party, Sort of like a sweet sixteen, that Cuban girls have when they reach the age of 15, which is the age that a girl reaches womanhood, and becomes self reliant. While they start their preparation for the party, Violet wants and becomes interested in her Cuban hertitage. When she does some research, she realizes that her Cuban side isnt so bad, and that she can have mixed cultures and make traditonally things, her own. She starts to undertsand her Cuban family. Violet's internal conflict is deciding who she is as a girl, and what culture she should follow. Her external conflict is showing all sides to her, her American side, her Cuban side, and her Polish side.While reading this book I came across a a text to world connection. During the book, Violet is unaware of her Cuban culture. I think that many kids have this problem. They aren't really exposed to their heritage, and so they follow pop culture, or cultures that arent even their own. There are many different situations where people don't even know their roots so they resort to another culture.I'd rate this book 4 stars. It really shows how she struggled, and the different challlenges that Violet had to face. It also shows how people find and create new identities for themselves when they follow cultures. I didnt rate it 5 stars becuase it was slow, i thought i could have been a little faster, but other than that the book was excellent. I'd reccomend this book to people who relates to finding their heritage or family background, and to peoplt who like Nancy Osa.

  • Melanie Sarmiento
    2019-04-18 23:15

    It was amazing but it might not make as much sense if you don't know some Spanish.

  • Mike
    2019-03-27 18:18

    When I asked my wife how she liked Cuba 15, she told me it was cute, but that it was maybe too girly for me. I told her that if I could read Little Women, then nothing was too girly for me. Actually, I figured that since I liked The House on Mango Street and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, then I would probably like this book too. I was right. I finished it in two sittings.Violet Paz is half Cuban American and Polish American, but she thinks of herself as simply American. But then her grandmother decides that Violet needs to have a quinceanero, or quince, which is a traditional coming of age celebration when a Cuban girl turns 15. Violet hardly knows anything about her Cuban heritage: she doesn't speak Spanish, and her father refuses to talk about his homeland. Violet starts off by getting a For Dummies book to learn about the traditional customs of her Cuban relatives. But it's her need to find material for her comedic speech club routines that drives her to pay more attention to her family, and to probe them about their homeland.Violet loves to makes jokes, and her wit is sprinkled on every page. This makes me want to describe the book as The House on Mango Street meets The Gilmore Girls. Aside from her father's anti-Castro stance, there aren't any major problems for Violet to overcome, just the normal teenage growing pains: refining her speech club routine, finding the right dress for her quince, dating, etc. What the book lacks in depth, it makes up for with its cheeriness. For readers who are weary of the "serious" (and often depressing) teen novel, Cuba 15 is a light and refreshing treat.

  • Jennifer Wardrip
    2019-04-08 18:01

    Reviewed by Mark Frye, author and reviewer for TeensReadToo.comViolet Paz gives little thought to her ethnicity. She's half-Cuban and half-Polish, but all American. She takes her father's roots for granted, even if her crazy relatives are always visiting for mega-Domino tournaments and zany cookouts. But when her grandmother and parents insist that she participate in her "quince," she is forced into a reluctant and embarrassed embrace with an "old world" tradition. This debut novel masterfully and subtly details the modernization of the quinceanero, a coming-of-age party for a Latina's fifteenth birthday, through the eyes of a clever and humorous teen living near Chicago. The author, Nancy Osa, accurately captures the resentment of parental influence some teens experience in their quest for their own identity. As Violet struggles with being forced to participate in her own quince, she seeks advice from other adult figures who help her balance parental expectations with her own need for independence. Osa pulls off this high-wire act masterfully, not going "over the top" in teen rebellion fashion, nor making Violet an unbelievably acquiescent parent-pleaser. Osa weaves the subplot into the novel quite well, also. It makes Violet's self-discovery a double success story: not only does she make her quince relevant to her modern, American life, but she uses her zany family's exploits as fodder for her speech team event. CUBA 15 has received considerable attention and been nominated for numerous awards. This is a likeable story from a "new" author I hope we hear from again! Five stars.

  • Lily
    2019-03-29 21:16

    On Cuba 15Cuba 15 was gifted to me by my mother when I was fifteen, with the hopes that I would get more serious and start reading more. Now, eighteen, almost nineteen, my mom complains that I read too much. Mother, what have you done?In reality, I did not start seriously reading until February of 2014, but this is one of the few books I read before that changing month. I distinctly remember liking Cuba 15, though I never wanted my own quince. As I reread it last week, I understood where this admiration came from.To begin with, this book is clearly written for young adults, but not with the language I usually see in YA novels (like for example, The Hunger Games). I was pleasantly surprised when going through it and seeing how the text was easy to understand, yet somewhat sophisticated. Furthermore, I enjoyed its educational properties. Obviously, I had never heard of a quince before reading this book, but learning about it through a cutesy book was quite fun. I had no big issues with the characters. The main one, Violet Paz, was a standard main character for the aimed audience and didn’t possess nothing quite out of the ordinary which I didn’t have a problem with. Overall, I recommend this book to fifteen-year-olds. Not sure how people above the intended age would like it. I enjoyed it because it reminded me of three years ago, and I love living in the past sometimes.Final word: Reminiscent.Date finished: 2014.11.03Rating: 3 | 5

  • ♥MRS.
    2019-04-01 17:08

    In this book, it talks bout how every girl wants there15 anos.Having your 15 it aint that easybecause you need the money and lots of help too.And more into it the 15 girl always wants everything to be just right.It aint easy for the family.In cuba 15, it talks bout this girl 15. She wants a party of a life time. she wants every thing to be just fine. but her mom and dad, want her to do it in her own way. Meaning that her mom and dad want to do it in cuban way. they do it in a different way then latin do. But she wanted a big party and wanted her pretty dress and her 6-8 guys to do the dance like any other 15 she knew. Having the 15 was the biggest party of the year even in high school. ever one she knew they knew that is was gona be big. She just need to her mom and dad to be there for her. Also she knew that every family member was gona be there to watch her do her dance and see her grown up like any nice lady. This girl wanted her 15 anos, and the family too.Having one its pretty fun because you know that your family it going to be there your friends too.You need to plan everything like a lest 2 months and have to make sure that everything is right.Well not every teen has there 15 anos because there is just not enough money, or not because they just dont want too.But, its ok dont mean that they can make a little something for her.Like a cookout, it dont matter if it not big as long your family is with you.Thats what counts.

  • Dana Olbrantz
    2019-04-20 22:01

    I enjoyed this book! It does a great job of discussing the intersectionality of a young girl´s identity: her parents´ cultures and her acceptance of turning from a girl to a woman. The use of Spanish was genius, well-integrated, and sets an inclusive tone for other YA lit.

  • Nikoleta
    2019-04-13 23:02

    Cuba 15 is a book about a girl called Violet Paz- she is half Cuban, half Polish and feels 100% American, but doesn't really know anything about her culture. Now- when she is going to turn fifteen her grandmother wants her to have a quinceanero party. This party is celebrated at the fifteenth birthday of a girl and it is when the girl becomes a woman. At first Violet doesn't like the idea because she will have to wear a big pink dress. However, when she accepts the party she starts asking questions about the Cuban culture. Then cultures and feelings collide and Violet is in the bottom of everything. During reading this book I mede a text-to-self connection. Violet really reminds me of myself because until I immigrated to America I didn't really know about the Bulgarian culture but now that I am away from my country I feel like I want to know everything about it- just like Violet. When in the end of the book she starts appriciating Cuba, she wants to learn everything about it. I would definitely give this book 5 stars. I really like the contrast in the beggining and in the end of the book. Also I like that Violet is just like a normal girl- has a boyfriend, best friends, etc. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of books about teenagers that don't like their parents's culture but have to suffer under it.

  • Heather Vest
    2019-04-01 01:03

    I read the book Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa. This book takes place in modern day Chicago, mostly in September, although around the end it jumps to May.This book is in first person point of view. The main character is Violet Paz. Violet is a sophomore in high school and is a little uncomfortable with herself. She is part of the speech team at her school.Violet’s grandmother comes to visit Violet for her birthday and insists that she have a quincearno (a party for Hispanic girls who are turning fifteen) because of their Cuban heritage. Violet does not want to have one because she sees herself more as an American than Cuban. Violet is forced to go through with the party anyway. She has to come to terms with herself and take charge of the party planning, because things were getting hectic between her parents and grandparents. While dealing with this at home, she has speech team at school. Her objective is to come up with an original comedy and perform it for three judges. Her inspiration for this is her chaotic family life, which may just get her a good review from the judges.I enjoyed this book very much, because it has a nice plot and it isn’t confusing. This book teaches you a little about Cuba and its heritage. The idea for Cuba 15 is not common, which makes this more enjoyable because you are introduced to something new while reading.

  • Molly
    2019-04-23 23:51

    In Cuba 15 Violet Paz is an average 15-year-old girl growing up in suburban Chicago. While technically her father’s half of the family is full blooded Cuban, Violet has never identified with her Cuban heritage. Imagine her surprise when her grandmother insists on throwing her a quinceañero against her wishes. Quinceañero, quince for short, is a traditional Latin American coming-of-age ceremony held for girls when they reach the age of 15. Every culture has their own traditions, but it is typically a lavish party to welcome the girl into womanhood and Violet wants none of it! She cannot think of anything for mortifying as standing up in front of all of her family and friends, and even some strangers, and announcing her womanhood. That is until she hears grandmother describe the prefect quinceañero dress, a pink poofy nightmare.Violet quickly understands that she has no say in whether she is going to have a quinceañero and instead focuses her fight on doing the quinceañero her own way. In the process of planning, Violet learns about quinceañeros and starts to ask questions about her Cuban heritage. After a lifetime of her questions being deflected, her family finally starts providing her with some answers. Violet becomes more observant of her family and what makes them different; the good, the bad, and the funny.

  • Krista
    2019-04-11 21:14

    I read this book for potential inclusion in our middle school curriculum. Violet Paz lives in the Chicago suburbs and feels little connection with her Cuban roots. She knows no Spanish, and her father never speaks of his childhood in Cuba. When Violet’s grandmother suggests a traditional quinceanero party in honor of Violet’s fifteenth birthday, she reacts with dread rather than excitement.The book follows Violet through her sophomore year of high school, as she plans her quince party and reaches a deeper understanding of her culture and herself. At the beginning of the book, Violet describes herself as having many “half talents” but no real defining passion. In the course of the year, after she joins the speech team and hones her skills, Violet discovers that she has both the passion and talent for comedy.The book is enjoyable for its humor and its cast of characters, including some memorable crazy family members and oddball friends. The quibbles for me were Violet’s voice, which seemed suspiciously grown-up, and the sometimes heavy-handed discussion of Cuban politics. Neither was enough to taint the reading experience, though. I will certainly recommend this book to young readers.

  • Brianna
    2019-04-08 18:02

    Violet Paz, who is also the narrator and the main character of the book, tells the story of her difficulties in learning about her Cuban roots. She recently turns 15, which in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother and the culture of Cuba, means that she has entered womanhood and is able to take on responsibilities.But Violet who is oblivious to what comes a long with having her own quinceanero,already feels embarrassed with having to proclaim her womanhood to others. Along the way,the gets more and more curious about her Cuban roots, but her family isn't willing to talk about it.Trying to focus on her quinceanero,she realizes that she doesn't want to have the the traditional things such as wearing a pink dress so she throws tradition out of the window and makes it her own.Violet has to also focus on her role in speech team,and as she meets a boy named Clarence,a boy she starts to like,she must also build her relationship with him as well.Throw in having a crazy family,a few lies here and there,lots of jokes,ups and downs with performances,and some tears,and you get the life of Violet Paz.Violet learns that having a quinceanero might be the answer to learning about Cuba.

  • Jo Sorrell
    2019-04-10 18:20

    This is a humorous book centered around a girl living in Chicago who is turning 15. Her grandmother is determined she will have a traditional Hispanic quince with a court and frilly dress.The plots become entwined with Violet's involvement in a public speaking team at school, her impending quince and her fascination with her father's home of Cuba. She is even more intrigued by Cuba when her father refuses to talk about his heritage. This curiousity gets Violet in trouble near the end of the book and as the reader you feel her pain as she is severely reprimanded by her family. I felt it all was so unfair to Violet yet I did not come from her parent's background. Amid this seriousness of that subject is the haliriaty of her crazy family who love to play dominoes and party. There is the element of love as Violet experiences her first boyfriend Clarence. Her brother Mark adds just the right amount of sibling problem as he gets on her nerves. The book reads slowly through its almost 300 pages but proves to be a fun one to read.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-24 23:00

    Love love loved this book! Violet Paz is a half-Cuban, half-Polish high school sophomore growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. When her Abuela visits from Miami and tells Violet that she wants to throw her granddaughter a quinceanero party, Violet doesn't know what she's talking about, but she knows two things for sure: she doesn't wear dresses, and she hates being in the spotlight. Over the coming weeks and months, Violet learns about her Cuban heritage, an oft silenced topic in her household, and lets her theatrical side emerge when she's recruited to join the speech team.Violet has a unique voice, and her struggles with her identity and growing up are very real and relatable, even for someone not coping with the challenge of merging two cultures. The book is told in the first person, and is so funny that I frequently found myself laughing out loud. There's a bit of history about Cuba thrown in as well, but no political stance is taken either way; it simply offers a taste of the larger issue, and the author's note at the end invites readers to research further.