Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, 2013
Piedad "Piddy" Sanchez and her mother move away from their apartments after the stars collapse. That is the last straw, according to her mother, and they pack up and move, forcing Piddy to switch schools in the process. Piddy feels that her world is crumbling around her and that she will fall down and through, just as the stairs in their old complex did. Not only is she forced to face the fact that her best friend Mitzi is forming a new life in her own new home, but that she will never be included in the Latina group at her new school. Yaqui, the head of the group, is jealous of Piddy's curves and sends one of her lackeys to tell Piddy that she better be ready, because Yaqui is going to kick her ass. At the same time, Piddy struggles to hide this from her mother, who works hard lifting televisions and other electronics. Piddy also wants to know more about the father that left her and her mother so long ago.
Yaqui's group hounds Piddy until they catch her, and it is such a heartbreaking scene. Piddy is conflicted with what she should do: should she go to her aunt, her mother, the administrators at school? Her fear over comes her, a very realistic portrayal of how it feels to be bullied, and she runs from it. This book has such an interesting array of characters, from those who love and care for Piddy at home and school, to those that don't. What I particularly love about this book is that it shows that even though one may have loving people to turn to, turning to them is not always easy. Fear is very real in this book, as it is in real life. Additionally, there is no excuse for Yaqui's behavior. Even though Yaqui lives in a rough neighborhood, the author does not use this to excuse her behavior towards Piddy. If anything, the fact that Yaqui and Piddy share similar characteristics shows the reader that it is possible to be like Piddy, to turn away from people like Yaqui who are mean just to be mean. And finally, there is no easy solution, just as in life.
This book has already created some controversy, as reported by School Library Journal.