Secrets of the Casa Rosada by Alex Temblador

Secrets of the Casa Rosada by Alex Temblador

Secrets of the Casa Rosada by Alex TembladorSecrets of the Casa Rosada by Alex Temblador
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Sixteen-year-old Martha and her mother move constantly, never staying anywhere for long. So she knows better than to ask if they’ve been evicted again when her mom says they’re going on a “vacation” to meet the grandmother Martha didn’t know existed.

Laredo, Texas, is like no other city she has seen. Driving past businesses with Spanish names and colorfully painted houses with burnt lawns, Martha can’t imagine her mother living somewhere so … Mexican. At her grandmother’s pink house, she’s shocked and hurt when her mom abandons her, even though a part of her had been expecting it.

Suddenly Martha must deal with a way of life that is completely foreign. Her grandmother doesn’t speak English, so communication is difficult, and she’s not the typical, sweet grandma who dotes on her grandchildren. Even weirder, it turns out that her grandmother is revered as a healer, or curandera. And there are tons of cousins, aunts and uncles all ready to embrace her!

At her new school, Martha can’t be anonymous like before because everyone knows she’s Doña González’s granddaughter. Meanwhile, a girl who has it out for her makes things unpleasant. As Martha struggles to adjust to her new life, she can’t help but wonder why her mother left Laredo. No one is willing to discuss it, so she’ll have to unravel the secret herself.

Books that explore our culture are few and far between, so when I stumble upon literary work by Mexican writers I can’t help but feel a sense of pride. Alex Temblador gives us a story about a girl who, when meeting her grandmother for the very first time, discovers a family she never knew. Set in Laredo, Martha is no longer a nameless, faceless girl in school. She is the granddaughter of a well-known and respected healer, and life for Martha is just starting to begin. “Secrets of Casa Rosada” is a fantastical, magical and captivating debut.

five-stars

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