Named to Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014
Named to School Library Journal Best Books of 2014
Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn't want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it's important to wait until you're married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, "Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas." Eyes open, legs closed. That's as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don't mind it. I don't necessarily agree with that whole wait until you're married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can't tell my mom that because she will think I'm bad. Or worse: trying to be White.
Isabel Quintero is an award-winning writer from the Inland Empire of Southern California. She is also the daughter of Mexican immigrants. In addition to Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, she has also written a chapter book series for young readers, Ugly Cat and Pablo (Scholastic, Inc.), a non-fiction YA graphic biography, Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty Publications, 2018), which received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award, and most recently, a picture book, My Papi Has a Motorcycle (Kokila, 2019). Isabel also writes poetry and essays. Her work can be found in The Normal School, Huizache, The Acentos Review, As/Us Journal, The James Franco Review, and other publications.
Quintero's first novel quickly establishes a strong voice and Mexican-American cultural perspective through the journal of intelligent, self-deprecating, and funny Gabi. The 17-year-old is navigating considerable conflict both at home and in her social life: her father is addicted to meth, while Gabi's strict mother pressures her to conform to her own views of their heritage and values. Gabi, who seeks comfort through binge eating, wants to grow up on her own terms, and she explores her awakening romantic and sexual feelings by writing poetry. Quintero unsentimentally confronts a gay teenager's coming out, teen pregnancy, date rape, abortion, addiction, and other topics while sketching the contradictory pressures facing Gabi, who feels caught between two worlds ("Being Mexican-American is tough sometimes. Your allegiance is always questioned"). Gabi's letters to her father are particularly moving, and her narration is fresh, self-aware, and reflective. The intimate journal structure of the novel is especially revealing as Gabi gains confidence in her own integrity and complexity: "I guess there is more to this fat girl than even this fat girl ever knew." Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Girls in Pieces
A friend had just suggested this book to me and I am so glad they did. Even if you think that you can't relate to Gabi, you will. The author brings a different light to the struggles that not only teenage girls but all women go through. What really is a girl to be but herself. It's an awesome book that every girl/guy should read at least once.