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Down to the Bone

This HarperTeen first edition is different from new, Bella Books paperback and Kindle edition with black cover where girls are a breath away from kissing.  This HarperTeen edition was written for reluctant readers, middle graders and very young teens.  If interested in a changed, updated, rewritten, augmented edition with the same title for an older audience, please find the other version. From School Library JournalGrade 9 Up—When a nun at her Catholic school confiscates and reads aloud in class a note to Laura Amores from another girl, declaring her love, the teen is kicked out of her school and her home. Soon after, Laura's devoted girlfriend yields to family pressure and accepts a marriage proposal. Abandoned, heartbroken, and confused, Laura takes refuge with another friend and struggles to find a home and identity in both the straight and the gay world. Her story isn't uncommon in the queer-teen-lit canon, but Dole's infusion of lively, spicy Cuban-American culture set against a hot Miami setting makes it rise above many other titles in the genre. While some of the action occasionally feels blunt and forced, Laura's unique, spunky attitude fleshes out the more dramatic bits and keeps the pages turning. Readers will relish the teen's descriptions of the food, fury, and passion that make up her life. Dole captivatingly colors Laura and her entourage with a rainbow of multicultural dialects, bits of Spanish, and slang. Teens will cheer for Laura in her struggle to find herself and a family.—Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From BooklistStarred Review After being expelled from her Catholic school for being lesbian, Lauri, 17, is thrown out by her Cuban mom for being “abnormal.” Worst of all, Lauri’s beloved partner, Marlena, leaves and does her family’s bidding by marrying a man. Lauri gets a job and finds a home with her straight, black friend, Soli, and she begins to wonder if she can fall in love with a guy and regain her family and acceptance. At the same time she has her own prejudices to overcome. The dialogue is fast and funny in this debut novel, which is set in Miami’s Cuban American community. Laura’s first-person, present-tense narrative shows and tells the farce and the sorrow at home, and teens will recognize some of the traditional prejudices, as well as the joy of friendship and the happiness of real love (“my smile barely fits in my face”). Supportive precisely because it is laugh-out-loud irreverent (in one hilarious scene Laura and Soli mock their tacky quinces with their pink-ruffled gowns), this breakthrough novel is sure to be welcomed. Grades 9-12. --Hazel Rochman
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