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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's Not About the Accent

***** It's Not About the Accent by Caridad Ferrer. YA.

This time, I didn't buy the book from Cherry solidarity--I bought it because I knew it was going to be wonderful. I was right.

Caroline Darcy wants more than her boring small-town Ohio life, so when she goes off to college, she reinvents herself, using her Cuban great-grandmother as a role model, speaking Spanish, and calling herself "Carolina."

Her first day, she meets two guys: frat boy Erik, who finds her exotic; and quiet, serious Peter, who's half-Cuban himself.

She starts dating Erik and becomes close friends with Peter, and her best friend back home keeps telling her to give up the charade, but it just never seems to be the right time.

Then disaster strikes, Peter comes to her rescue, and with his encouragement, she starts researching Nana Ellie's life and discovers herself in the process.

Although I'm more than a couple decades older than Caroline, she's very easy to relate to. I vividly remember reinventing myself when I went off to college, as I'm sure a lot of us did. It's the perfect time to do so, and a time in your life where you're trying on different identities. I wasn't quite as brave and bold as Caroline, but I could understand how she felt.

What's best about Accent is how real it feels. More than once, I laughed aloud, and more than once I had tears running down my face--not just a lump in my throat, but actual tears. The characters are vivid and 3-dimensional. Even the ones who aren't heroes (trying to avoid spoilers) aren't all bad--they're human and understandable, and people you might meet.

Barb's an outstanding writer, and I'm looking forward to whatever she writes next, regardless of the genre. She has a gift for bringing characters to life.


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