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Article

Once Upon a Quinceanera

Posted on

Once Upon a Quinceañera

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Julia Alvarez
publisher:
Viking
genre:
Kids and Family, Nonfiction

We gave it a B

In Once Upon a Quinceañera, Julia Alvarez bolsters her look at the quinceañera — a coming-of-age celebration for Latina girls when they turn 15 — with reflections on her own girlhood in 1960s NYC. She tracks how the tradition has bent to Americanization and commercialization, offering colorful reporting from a contemporary quinceañera in Queens (where Disney characters inspired the celebrant’s court) and interviews with those in the multimillion-dollar industry (a third-generation party photographer in Miami stands out). Alvarez’s honest grappling with her caught-between-two-cultures experience is compelling, even when the book’s My Super Sweet 16 aspects start to grate. B