July 29, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: SISTERS, STRANGERS, AND STARTING OVER

SISTERS, STRANGERS, AND STARTING OVER
A Quinceañera Club Novel
By Belinda Acosta
Grand Central Publishing



In the U.S., the big thing for teenage girls is their Sweet 16. For a Latina teen, it’s her Quinceañero or Sweet 15. Since my cousin Betsy and I are 15 days apart (she’s older and I never let her forget it!), and since she lived in Puerto Rico and I lived in New York (we still do), she got the Quinceañero and I got the Sweet 16. They were both great gatherings full of family and friends, and we both made out well in the presents department. But even though the party is all about the girl turning into a woman, there already is a woman in the picture – the Mami, the Mother of the birthday girl.

Mothers bring you into this world. The good ones nurture you, mentor you, nag you…I mean…encourage you. Of course, the mother-daughter relationship is a hazardous one full of live mines, but what happens when a girl doesn’t have a mother, when all she has is an aunt she’s hardly heard of and her special day is around the corner? And what happens when a mother is faced with a ghost from her past that can tear her family apart? This is the premise of Belinda Acosta’s new novel, SISTERS, STRANGERS, AND STARTING OVER.

And, get your hankies ready because Acosta does a great job at bringing her characters to life and making the reader care for them. I cried, I laughed, I rejoiced in and with this book. It’s excellent. And it may be the second in the series, but it stands alone. You won’t miss anything if you haven’t read the first one, DAMAS, DRAMAS AND ANA RUIZ.

SISTERS is a good book for mothers, daughters and friends of all ages.


SUMMARY:   Beatriz Mulligan is celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary. Everything is ready for the party, but she feels antsy, as if something is coming, something bad. The party goes off without a hitch. A great time is had by all, until the police arrive with a strange teenage girl in tow. Beatriz knows who she is the minute she looks into her face for Celeste is the image of her mother, Perla. The sisters had a bad falling out years before and became estranged. Beatriz sees Celeste’s arrival as her chance to make up with her sister, but it will also threaten the very foundation of her marriage. But with love and determination, Beatriz finds a way to be a wife, mother and aunt, and to keep her family –new and old—united and strong.


COMMENT:   Do leave a comment and let us know if you had a Quinceañero or a Sweet 16?  And, let us know if you've read this book and what you thought of it.  Did you use one hankie or two? 

Read Latino.  --mcf



This book was provided by the publisher.   It is available at bookstores everywhere.