Book review: Meg Medina’s “Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass”

YaquiDelgadoYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Candlewick) has one of the best titles of the year so far. And the young adult novel by Meg Medina boasts a story as compelling as its title.

Piddy Sanchez is a half-Cuban, half-Dominican teenager living in Queens who has started attending a new high school. One day, she is told that Yaqui Delgado, a classmate she doesn’t know, is after her. As another student tells her:

“‘You’re stuck-up for somebody who just showed up out of nowhere. Oh! And she wants to know who the hell you think you are, shaking your ass the way you do.’ … Interesting, I’ve only has an ass for about six months, and now it seems to have a mind of its own.”

Piddy is on the lookout for Yaqui. And her fear leads her to skip classes and neglect her studies. To add to her stress, she becomes involved with a boy from a troubled family, and she starts questioning her mother about the whereabouts of her father, whom she’s never met.

Delgado is a fast-paced, easy to read novel that accurately conveys the fear of bullying and the angst of being an adolescent, that awful time in life when nothing you do is right.

Take this scene where Piddy is hanging out with her mother’s best friend:

“I don’t say anything else as the sputtering radio fills the room. Lila wouldn’t understand what it’s like to be hated. Everyone loves her; everyone wants to talk to her at a party. … I don’t know that secret charm – at least not at (school), where I’ve become a loser just like that.”

While YouTube is mentioned, I would have liked to have seen the presence of more cyberbullying since it’s so rampant today – although I understand that the characters come from low-income families whose parents don’t own computers or smartphones.

But that’s a minor complaint. Overall, Yaqui Delgado is a excellent novel for teens, who will relate to the main character and her troubles. The book kicks ass.

Meg_MedinaMore about Meg Medina:

Virginia-based Medina is the author of the 2012 young adult novel The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind and the 2011 picture book Tía Isa Wants a Car, which won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award.

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher.

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2 Comments

Filed under 2013 Books, Book Reviews, Fiction, Young Adult Books

2 responses to “Book review: Meg Medina’s “Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass”

  1. Shelley

    I agree. This is one of the best YAs with a Latina main character this year. I did also wonder why didn’t Piddy look up Yaqui on Facebook instead of reading through the school yearbooks. But stellar title nonetheless.

  2. That is indeed an awesome title! Sounds good; I’ll have to track this one down.

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