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Monday, December 11, 2006


***** Becoming Americana by Lara Rios. Chick lit.









Becoming Americana is a sequel of sorts to Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps (#11). It takes place several years later, when the young Lupe Perez we met in the first book is grown up and working on making it out of the old neighborhood. She's a student at UCLA and volunteers at The Vibe, a center for at-risk teens.

It's not easy. All she wants is to keep her head down, finish school, and get out. But when she helps a fellow student after a mugging, it leads to an article in the school paper making her sound like a heroine and an All-American success story--Bad Girl from the Barrio Makes Good--giving her celebrity and leading people to view her as a type, not a person. To top it off, her professor wants her to write her thesis on Americanization, so she's thinking about what it means to be American.

The story follows Lupe as she escapes her brother; moves in with Nash, The Vibe's director, who she's had a crush on for years; starts to date Will, the student who wrote the article; and has to make a choice between a great job and finishing school.

It's full of emotional ups and downs, gritty realism, love, heartbreak, acceptance, and betrayal. I shared her pain at the decision to leave her family; and I shared her dilemmas of Nash or Will, school or the job. Through it all, however, what Lupe wants is what we all want: to be accepted as ourselves. She made some mistakes and some good choices, and ultimately, everything turned out for the best.

Normally, I complain about epilogues. Not this time. This epilogue was the end of the story--it wouldn't have been finished without it. There's an exception to every rule.

I thoroughly enjoyed Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps, but I liked Becoming Americana even better. Because Lupe's past is darker, the story is darker, but it's also full of life and hope.

...more

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