Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

yaqui-delgadoBibliographic Information:

  • Publisher, Date: Candlewick Press, 2013
  • Edition: First
  • Description: 260 pages; 22cm          
  • Interest Level: YA
  • Summary: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. That’s what some girl tells Piddy Sanchez one morning. Paddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui Delgado is or what she’s done to piss her off.

But Yaqui isn’t kidding around. Paddy tries to focus on finding out more about the father she’s never met and balancing honors courses with her job at the neighborhood hair salon, but avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. She’s forced to decide exactly who she is versus who others are trying to make her become – and ultimately discovers a rhythm that is all her own.  Retrieved from https://megmedina.com/booksandreviews/yaqui-delgado-wants-to-kick-your-ass/

Reader’s Annotation: Who is Yaqui Delgado?!  And why does she want to kick my ass?!

Plot Summary: Piddy Sanchez is happily working her way through high school with the hopes of someday being veterinarian for elephants and kittens.  She works hard and is at the top of her class.  Then her mother falls through the steps of their apartment building and just like that her world falls apart.  Her mother moves them to a new and nicer place but that involves moving her to a new school, which is definitely not a nicer place.  Although her first few weeks at the new high school is successful – she in with the smart kids and her teachers love her – it isn’t long before she is informed that some other girl named Yaqui Delgado thinks she after her boyfriend, is a stuck-up skank, and needs to be taught some respect.  Yaqui intends to kick her ass and there’s nothing she can do about it no matter how hard she tries.  Eventually, after enduring weeks of harassment Piddy is stalked and assaulted in front of her own home.  Worse, one of the girls in Yaqui ‘gang’ films it and it ends up online.  All of this, both the avoiding of the threat and Piddy’s eventual beat-down cause her to let other aspects of her life slip into disarray, forcing her to make some serious decisions about her life and how she lives it.

Critical Evaluation:  This is one of the best books I’ve ever read dealing with bullying and the interpersonal relationships of kids in middle or high school.  Medina’s portrayal of Piddy is so believable that you come away thinking you’ve actually met this person somewhere, or that you were that person at some place or time.  By focusing only on the victim the book sends a strong message about who we should really be concerned about when someone harasses or bullies another person.  Regardless of the motivation or issues of the bully, it is the victim who deserves our care and protection. This book brings the victim to life in a way that makes her sympathetic but not pathetic.  Piddy doesn’t understand why this person hates her so much.  She tries to figure out if there is a way to resolve the issues before something terrible happens but can’t because logic and reason don’t play a role in this situation.  And that is why this book is so successful to me.  Bully’s just don’t need a reason to hurt others and Medina makes it clear whose side we should be on.

Author’s Brief Bio: Meg Medina is an award-winning Cuban American author who writes picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. She is the 2016 recipient of the Pura Belpré honor medal for her picture book, Mango, Abuela and Me, and the 2014 Pura Belpré Award winner for her young adult novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, which was also the winner of the 2013 CYBILS Fiction award and the International Latino Book Award. She is also the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers medal winner for her picture book Tía Isa Wants a Car.

Meg’s other books are The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind , a 2012 Bank Street Best Book and CBI Recommended Read in the UK; and Milagros: Girl from Away.  In March 2014, she was recognized as one of the CNN 10 Visionary Women in America. In November 2014, she was named one of Latino Stories Top Ten Latino Authors to Watch.

Meg’s work examines how cultures intersect, as seen through the eyes of young people. She brings to audiences stories that speak to both what is unique in Latino culture and to the qualities that are universal. Her favorite protagonists are strong girls.  When she is not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth and/or literacy. She lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia.  Retrieved from https://megmedina.com/about/

Genre Designation: Realistic Fiction

Possible Curriculum Links:

  • Hispanic Culture / Variations within immigrant populations
  • Sociology

Book Talk Ideas:  How would you deal with someone who thinks something about you that isn’t true?

Materials Relating to Potential Challenges:

Reviews:

Why this book was selected.  I had to read it for an assignment; lucky for me otherwise I’d have never read it.

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