Christian/Multicultural/Young Adult/Fantasy fiction~ Is that even possible?
Earning a gold medal for the Harper Collins Editors Desk Award this is an excerpt of their review:
“They Call Me Blanca” is the story of a white-Latina teenager named Michelina who endeavours to join a gang of girls in an attempt to establish her identity and finally gain a sense of belonging. Struggling to balance her two heritages, she chooses to undergo the deeply frightening and brutal gang initiation, at the hands of her new ‘friends’. Michelina, teasingly nicknamed as ‘Blanca’ due to her pale skin, is begged by her childhood friends to abandon the gang and join them in their local Christian church group.
Ignoring the pleas of her friends and mother, Michelina is seriously injured in her final baptism into gang life and is transported to an out-of-body journey through the lives of her grandparents and parents – learning that violence mars her family at each tier, and that Christianity, Jesus and the real love of those closest to her can bring her peace.
I was drawn into this story from the first sentence. It was tense, and full of intrigue and I have no doubt the opening of this work would grip young adults instantly. The writer builds intensity quickly and strongly, young and old can identify with the feeling of sneaking in to your family home, hoping not to be spotted or questioned …(this is) akin with reading a thriller. Violence is introduced in the first few pages, as the reader learns of Michelina’s injuries, and is spurred on to discover the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of this poor girl’s predicament. This suspense, this interest which the reader follows vehemently, is rewarded with more than they would have bargained for… This story has a very strong basis – Michelina’s near-death experience takes her on a journey of understanding and appreciation of her roots and her family history. It opens her eyes to the violence which simmers and erupts through generations and brings her closer to God and to those she loves…this book could be a success in the YA genre.”
Here are just a few more of the favorable author reviews this book as garnered:
They Call Me Blanca is one of the best examples of Young Adult fiction you are likely to find… Author Laura A. Diaz presents us with a perfect view of Hispanic culture that many readers are probably unfamiliar with, tells a vivid and gripping story, and ultimately helps to promote a positive message, which is pretty much everything YA should and could do in the right hands.
Michelina DélaCruz is an ideal main character. She’s tough and unapologetic, yet we as readers get to peek behind the curtain and see why she is that way. She’s a very sympathetic and real-seeming person who we instantly care about. When bad things happen to her, we feel it, sometimes painfully.
The plot moves forward from the typical themes of trying to fit in to the supernatural time-traveling part of the story where Michelina really begins to grow as a person. Readers won’t have a chance to get bored.
The writing is crisp and literally dripping in culture, to the point that we are often introduced to both English and Spanish descriptions of people and places.
They Call Me Blanca should have no trouble at all finding an audience once published. And it’s a novel that wholly deserves to make it into print. Doing so would help to add credibility to the entire YA genre, and I believe could do a lot of good in the world too.
John Breeden II, Old Number Seven
Click the above link to continue reading….. Happy reading! 🙂