Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this book as part of the Hub (YALSA) Morris/Nonfiction challenge. We need more books like this! Gabi is a Mexican American BUT since she is so light skinned, even Mexicans don't think she is part Mexican. What I love about Gabi's voice and character is that she is so authentic; she is hilarious in her thoughts and words (she is a wonderful writer and poet- she is compassionate- she is confused) she is just a teen looking for answers. She loves her family but knows they are very dysfunctional in so many ways. Her mother judges her, yells at her, and constantly harps on Gabi to diet and doesn't really see the need for her daughter to go to college or date boys. Her father is a meth addict and Gabi's poem about him on p. 117-122 titled "In Light of the Fear of my Father's Death I Write This Down" is sad, loving, despondent, and honestly to the point. Her best friends, Cindy and Sebastian have their own baggage, but they stick together through thick and thin. Gabi has a good self image about herself but she knows she is not thin and she LOVES TO EAT Mexican food whether it is her mother's, aunt's, or the restaurant- Pep's House of Wings or hidden away in her room. As Gabi tells us in diary format about her senior year and college admission drama, we find a teen who is so so so many things- shy, self-confident, honest, humorous, genuine, hopeful, boy crazy, reluctant to talk back to her parents and elders, and most of all a girl that the reader meets in many different Pieces - A Gordita/A Fatgirl (I loved the cover of this book!!!). I particularly enjoyed the zine she created for a class assignment (with a wonderful teacher, Ms Abernard) beginning on page 193, titled "The Female Body" (her artwork, illustrations and diagrams must be seen and read!!!) It is through her diary, letters to her father, poetry, that Gabi tries to find her way in the world. I love this girl! Highly recommended!
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