04 April 2015

Review: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Maybe closer to a 2.5.

In this book, Piddy has a problem, and it's a bully at school. Her entire existence is being dictated by the problems Yaqui Delgado is causing, and she doesn't even know what she did to get the ire directed at her. This is basically a story about dealing with a bully as well as the expectations of a family with their own cultural issues and situations to work out.

This book has gotten heaps of praise and I'll be honest in wondering what the big deal is. It's about as straightforward as a book can get, with characters that feel very surface level. Piddy, who is the person we're supposed to care about, instead comes across as entirely helpless and without any real agency of her own, cruising along in this world where her life is dictated either by her family or by Yaqui or by any other situation that comes around. Toward the end, she finally does appear to make a choice for herself, and that choice just seems empty and pointless after everything that's happened.

It's just disappointing. If we want to look at this in the framework of the diverse books "movement," this ends up just being representative culturally without providing the type of message we'd want in any direction - if you're going to make a bully get his or her comeuppance, make us care, but if you're not going to redeem the victim, give us a reason why not. This book does neither. Especially with such a compelling title (really the best part of this book), expectations were fairly high for me and they just didn't come in at the end.

There are better books that handle everything that this book does. Find a list of them and read those first.

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