In this story about family and identity, Violet Paz learns about her Cuban heritage and navigates her family’s diverse opinions to form her own in preparation for a quinceañero to celebrate her fifteenth birthday.
Violet Paz has just turned fifteen, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quinceañero. But while Violet is half Cuban, she’s also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family’s passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, and dancing to Latin music, Violet knows little about Cuban culture, nada about quinces, and only tidbits about the history of Cuba. So when Violet begrudgingly accepts Abuela’s plans for a quinceañero–and as she begins to ask questions about her Cuban roots–cultures and feelings collide. The mere mention of Cuba and Fidel Castro elicits her grandparents’sadness and her father’s anger. Only Violet’s aunt Luz remains open-minded. With so many divergent views, it’s not easy to know what to believe. All Violet knows is that she’s got to form her own opinions, even if this jolts her family into unwanted confrontations. After all, a quince girl is supposed to embrace responsibility–and to Violet that includes understanding the Cuban heritage that binds her to a homeland she’s never seen.
From the Hardcover edition.
“Violet’s hilarious cool first-person narrative veers between farce and tenderness, denial and truth . . .”—Booklist, Starred
“Cuba 15 will make readers laugh, whether or not their families are as loco as Violet’s.”—The Horn Book Magazine
A Pura Belpré Honor Book
An ALA Notable Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A Booklist Top Ten Youth First Novels
WINNER 2004 - ALA Notable Children's Book
WINNER 2004 - Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List
WINNER 2004 - Pura Belpre Narrative Honor
WINNER 2004 - ALA Best Books for Young Adults