Miss Quinces

Scholastic/Graphix. May 2022. 256p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781338535594.
Gr 4-8–In her graphic novel debut, Fajardo adeptly captures the angst of young people who are caught between two cultures—too Latinx to be accepted as American and too American to be accepted as Latinx. All tween Suyapa “Sue” Gutierrez wants to do this summer is hang out with her cool friends at summer camp and work on her comics. Instead, she has to head to Honduras to visit family where her mother surprises her with plans to have a quinceañera party. The last thing Sue wants to do is wear a big poofy dress, dance the waltz in high heels, and celebrate a very traditional and girly event where she is the center of attention. Fajardo explores themes of sisterhood, bilingualism, and intergenerational conflicts and resolutions in this delightful and often touching volume. The protagonist is sweet but prickly, a winning combination in this inviting work done in candy-colored and cheerful digital art. The variation in panel sizes enhances the even pacing, and the expressive faces and body movements ramp up the book’s humor. Blue font indicates when characters are speaking in Spanish, while black font indicates English. Sue and her family often switch between the two, but over the course of the summer, their speech bubbles feature more blue text, though she remains more proficient in English. Sue’s school friends are a variety of races as are her family members—refreshingly showing the diversity within the Honduran community.
VERDICT With all of the charm of Raina Telgemeier and Lucy Knisley’s works, this title will be enjoyed by voracious fans of coming-of-age graphic novels. But the specificity of having to stride two cultures and feeling like an outcast in both will especially resonate with readers from bicultural communities.

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