I'd like to start off with one of my most favorite books: The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales. Reading this book, and her previous book, Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales, was like stepping into my own past. Sofia's family, her relationships with them and her fears and concerns for her future, are all things that I can heavily relate to. The descriptions - everything from the cascarones to the sugar skulls to the relationship between Sofia and her father - are written beautifully.
The climax and ending of this book caught me completely by surprise. Reading the beginning I could not imagine what would happen, I never would have thought it. But then, life is this way sometimes. This is a very heartbreaking book that you will not easily get over, but with a beautiful message of hope and endurance. I can see why it won the Pura Belpre award; I only wish Viola Canales would write another.