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Algonquin Books
I wasn’t looking for a specific place, since I didn’t believe there was any place I belonged. –Jaquira

Fierce. Eloquent. Harsh. Stark. Empowering.   

From Ponce to Miami, Jaquira’s life is not easy.  It’s full of doubt, violence, suicide, mental illness, fear, shame, rage, and finally defiance and confidence. She read books on the download, dreamed of getting out of Miami and traveling the world, dreaming of adventures. Jaquira never dreamt of a specific place, because she never felt that she’d belong. Now, she shares her story, her journey to the woman she has become and celebrates today.

SUMMARY:  While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Díaz found herself caught between extremes. As her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was supported by the love of her friends. As she longed for a family and home, her life was upended by violence. As she celebrated her Puerto Rican culture, she couldn’t find support for her burgeoning sexual identity. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of ORDINARY GIRLS vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz writes with raw and refreshing honesty, triumphantly mapping a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   Jaquira Díaz was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami. She is the author of ORDINARY GIRLS: A MEMOIR, winner of a Whiting Award, a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal, and a Lambda Literary Awards finalist.  Diaz is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Kenyon Review, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She splits her time between Montréal and Miami Beach. Her second book, I AM DELIBERATE: A NOVEL, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books. Visit her at

Read excerpts from ORDINARY GIRLS here.