A coming of age book set in 1961 Puerto Rico, this is the story of Verdita and how her life at 11 is changing and growing. We meet Verdita, happy and loved by her Mama and Papi, curious about what lies ahead in her life. She is most curious about The States, and everything that is different and in her opinion and dreams, wonderful about the United States. Verdita is curious about people who are blonde, white skinned, and much more. She dreams of milk that comes from cows, and not a box or a coconut. Her cousin comes to visit each summer from the States and he tells her of snow, and other common things she has no knowledge of. She is jealous of his experiences, but she would never tell him, so instead she often uses more Spanish so he doesn’t know what she’s saying.
Verdita is innocent and impressionable, and she is curious about the love she sees between her parents and the kind that is hushed and whispered about between her cousin Delia and her boyfriend. Are both these actions sinful, is her mother a puta? Verdita is confused and alone in her thoughts.
I really can’t tell you how sweet and wonderful this book is. I “met” the author, Sarah McCoy, on twitter and I knew I had to read this book. The story is an honest look back at a time of great change in Puerto Rico, talk of becoming as state or part of the U.S., the excitement when President Kennedy came for a visit and the innocence of a young girl. It’s a short lovely read, and one that you will hope doesn’t end. Even now, a week after I finished this book, I am thinking of Verdita, and what exciting and new discoveries she is about to make.
A quick read, I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars, I recommend this book to anyone who loves coming of age books and to older teens.
Sarah McCoy will have a second novel THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER, published in January 2012, you can learn more about her and her books at SarahMcCoy.com