Don't Date Rosa Santos

by Nina Moreno

High school senior Rosa Santos’s mother was born at sea during her grandparent’s... read more

High school senior Rosa Santos’s mother was born at sea during her grandparent’s escape from Cuba. Rosa’s grandfather drowned on that journey. Rosa’s own father died at sea before she was born. Rosa, who’s been shaped by both the love and the pain of her grandmother and mother, avoids the water, believing her family has a curse. Still, she longs to visit Cuba—stories of the island where her family came from filled her childhood and occupy her imagination. But she dreads telling her grandmother, who also can’t forget why they fled. When her town’s annual spring festival is threatened by development, Rosa and others in their diverse, predominantly Latinx community throw themselves into saving it. Among them is Alex, a young man Rosa finds more appealing than she wants to admit. But Alex is also a sailor. There’s a satisfying romance in this remarkable debut novel, but it’s the complex, heartfelt, nuanced exploration of mothers and daughters and grandmothers, immigration and exile, trauma and healing, family and community that makes it hard to put down. Both aching and whimsical, the writing is fresh, often funny, and always observant. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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