Amigas #1

Fifteen Candles
Gr 7—10—Alicia Cruz has big dreams. She's working as a summer intern at City Hall in order to polish up her college résumé when she has a chance to help a friend plan her quinceañera. The teen has four close friends, each with a distinct style and strength, which makes the group work well together. As Alicia begins her research on quinces, she decides that the friends have what it takes to start a business. She proposes the plan to them, and they immediately begin to launch their Amigas enterprise. However, as the time for the party draws near, the partners experience some issues. Chambers does a good job of developing five characters who are working through some growing pains but come out of the situation triumphantly. The narrative is a little heavy on food descriptions and designer-label name-dropping, but it shows practical elements of learning to mature. The author gives a nod to the cultural implications of quinces, as well as to the fact that not everyone can afford a big party. Instead, many people have to plan and budget, something the Amigas run into during their preparations. A light read that will be of most interest to Hispanic populations.—Emily Garrett Cassady, North Garland High School, Garland, TX

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