Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Crystal Maldonado, Author of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega – On Fat Heroines, Mental Health, and Complex Relationships

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Latine Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond between September 15 – October 15, where we invite Latine authors to celebrate being Latine and Latine books! Find the introduction post for Latine Heritage Month here.

When I saw the cover of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, I knew I had to pick it up. On it, there is a gorgeous, fat Latine teenage girl in a beautiful lace-adorned green dress, a piece of clothing that becomes pivotal in her journey within the pages. It was one of my favorite books this spring and included relationships I won’t soon forget, from Charlie’s best friendship with Amelia, her budding relationship with Bryan, and her complicated mother-daughter dynamics. I knew immediately that I wanted to have a conversation with Crystal to talk more about all of these dynamics and I am beyond grateful that she has joined us for Latine Heritage Month.

Read More »

Book Review: Simone Breaks All the Rules by Debbie Rigaud – A Joyous Love Letter to Teens with Strict Parents, Forging Your Own Path and Happiness, and Haitian Culture

Simone Breaks All the Rules by Debbie Rigaud. Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond.
Synopsis:

Simone Thibodeaux’s life is sealed in a boy-proof container.

Her strict Haitian immigrant parents enforce no-dating rules and curfews, and send Simone to an all-girls school. As for prom? Simone is allowed to go on one condition: her parents will select her date (a boy from a nice Haitian immigrant family, obviously).

Simone is desperate to avoid the humiliation of the set up — especially since she’s crushing on a boy she knows her parents wouldn’t approve of. With senior year coming to a close, Simone makes a decision. She and her fellow late-bloomer friends will create a Senior Year Bucket List of all the things they haven’t had a chance to do. On the list: kissing a boy, sneaking out of the house, skipping class (gasp!), and, oh yeah — choosing your own prom date.

But as the list takes on a life of its own, things get more complicated than Simone expected. She’ll have to discover which rules are worth breaking, and which will save her from heartbreak.

I have remembered every time I have felt seen by a book, where it felt like the book was a mirror into my life. I picked up Simone Breaks All the Rules because it sounded delightful – a teen rebels against her strict parents’ plan to set her up with a prom date of their choosing and decides to reclaim her senior year by doing all the things that she’s always wanted to do: kiss a boy, sneak out, skip class, and yes! choose her own prom date. Turns out, I did indeed get the delightful book that I had wanted – but I also got more. I also got a book that really understands what it’s like to live with strict parents. I felt seen by this book and I’ll love this book forever more for it.

Read More »

Book Recommendations – 8 Latine Contemporary and Coming-of-Age Stories

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Latine Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond between September 15 – October 15, where we invite Latine authors to celebrate being Latine and Latine books! Find the introduction post for Latine Heritage Month here.

September flew right by and October is here – which means that we’re also halfway through Latine Heritage Month at the Pond! I hope all of you have been reading the most wonderful Latine books – I’ve read many, some of which will be in today’s book recommendation post!

In the past week, I’ve shared my book reviews of the enchanting The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Cordova and feel-good romance Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins. We also had the privilege of having Raquel Vasquez Gilliland visit us again this year, and we discussed her splendid book, How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe (one of my favourite books of this year).

Read More »