Thursday, March 15, 2012

Growing Up Rita by Michael de Guzman

Title: Growing Up Rita
Author: Michael de Guzman
Publisher: CreateSpace (November 29, 2011)
Length: 142 pages
Souce: Goodreads First Reads program
Format: paperback

Description from Back of the Book:

Rita turned and ran. If they could take her mother, they could take her. She tore out of the building and across the street. She looked back Nobody was chasing her, but she was certain they would be any minute. She kept running, trying to remember how she'd come. The purse slipped from her shoulder. Its contents emptied on the sidewalk. She looked up as she retrieved them. A white truck was barreling up the street. They were coming for her. It sped past. She breathed a sigh of relief. She started running again. She fairly flew, clutching the purse under her arm. She was afraid to look back. The station came into view. She descended to the platform. Waiting for the train she expected them to appear at any moment. She searched for an escape route. There was none.
***Also on the Back of the book is a note from Michael de Guzman***
"I wrote Growing Up Rita because I wanted kids to read about other kids who live a different life. And because the more we know about each other, the better off we are..."
My Thoughts:
I picked this book up not knowing what to expect. The last book I read that was "middle grade" had to have been the last Harry Potter book. The cover looks like a child's drawing and gives the book a sense of levity. This book is anything but light and I am having a hard time pinning it down. It might appeal to younger readers, but I would actually recommend it to older readers also. Rita gives a look into the lives of illegal immigrants and their legal children. Parts of the book are told from a couple different points of view, but I found Alicia's point of view, Rita's mother,particularly heartbreaking. She is a woman who wanted a better life for her and her child, and lives in constant fear of her dreams being taken away. This short book is packed with emotion, desperation, and a mother's hope for her daughter's future. There is a dryness to Rita's character, but it comes with a certain sense of right and wrong mixed with the understanding logic only a child feels comfortable voicing. This isn't the most technically correct book written and some of the characters "dangle loose" at times i.e. Edmond, but the emotion in the book more than makes up for it.  I give this book a 3 1/2 (middle grade) to 4 (general) STAR rating.
* I received this book free of charge through the Good Reads First Reads program and Michael de Guzman in exchange for an honest review. Growing Up Rita is self published by Michael de Guzman

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