In 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.
(Description from Goodreads)
First of all, can we just gawk at how awesome this title is? It’s incredibly strong. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your ASS! I really want to shout it over and over again. In fact, I did while I was reading it (the best part was when I would read it during my down time at work, because students thought it was great I kept saying “ass” – I can’t get in trouble for it if it’s a title of a book!) Aside from the fantastic book title, I really enjoyed this book. There were a few things that I wasn’t a fan of, but there were very few of those. I’ll start with those first.
One thing I wasn’t a fan of were the side stories that were featured. I understand how the side stories were there to show the reader how Piddy grows as a teenager during this difficult time, but at the same time, it ended up making me lose my focus of the main storyline several times. Going off of the side stories, I wasn’t a fan of Piddy’s childhood friend. The two were separated when they changed schools, so they didn’t see each other much. okay, I get that; I don’t get to see my best friend nearly as much as I would like to. However, I don’t understand the fact that they drifted apart because they didn’t stay in contact. Obviously it wasn’t that strong of a friendship to begin with then.
On to the good things about this book, because there were many. I LOVED Piddy’s character, but there were a few times I wanted to shake her and scream, “WAKE UP AND TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THIS!” when it came to the bullying that was taking place. Bullying in high school is a terrible thing to endure, but those being bullied should never have to feel like they are alone. I sympathized with Piddy quite frequently throughout the book. While I never went through bullying quite like what she went through, I understand what it’s like to BE bullied. Piddy was a fantastic character that I really enjoyed. Meg Medina did an amazing job with her characters in this book; even Yaqui, who I absolutely hated, was such a well-written character.
The plot and the actions that occur throughout are incredibly believable. Apparently Yaqui hates Piddy because she shakes her butt too much when she walks and she thinks Piddy wants her boyfriend. Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s because it is. However, it’s something that could absolutely happen in high school. Hormones do crazy things to a teen’s mind and if a girl feels threatened by another girl, she’ll come up with any reason to hate her. Working in a high school setting, I see it all the time. Thankfully, I never see any action take place between the feuding sides; however, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. So, yes, the action in this book was incredibly realistic and pretty true to what could happen for real.
I will say that I was truly upset by one thing that happened in the book. There were several moments that made my eyes almost bug out of my head, but when (highlight to see spoiler) Yaqui beats up Piddy outside of her own home and Yaqui’s friends record it and post it online, I had to put the book down while reading in the car for a little bit (another point to make about how awesome this book was…I NEVER read in the car). Again, an incredibly realistic, though over-the-top, scene that could most definitely happen in a fit of hormonal teenage rage.
I have read several books about bullying that were either unrealistic or didn’t provide the emotional response they should have, but Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass was not one of those. While there were a few aspects that I was not a fan of, I really enjoyed and felt myself connecting with this book. I know some people may not think this book is suitable for teenagers (mostly because of the book title), but I think teens would not only enjoy this book, but they would get something out of it. The ending is most definitely not picture perfect, but it’s realistic; not every situation turns into a happy ending. However, I’m happy with how it ended because of this; it was a little rushed, but not enough to throw off the feel of the book. I found this book to be very powerful, engaging, and realistic.