TITLE: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
AUTHOR: Meg Medina
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: Piddy (not P. Diddy) is Yaqui Delgado’s new target at her new school.
I don’t like stories about bullying. I don’t like the whole theatrics of it when a kid says “Meet me at 3 o’clock, or else.” I think it’s stupid, and in a perfect world it wouldn’t happen, but that world doesn’t exist yet.
Unfortunately, Piedad aka Piddy is left to face off Yaqui Delgado, the Queen Bee of the Latina clique in school. It’s mostly physical bullying that she has to confront every day, but words and name calling do make their appearance. The story focuses on Piddy and how the bullying affects her, and I loved (I hated it but from a character development stand point, I like it) seeing that slow progression. The constant harassment begins to seep into all areas of her life, he grades, her friendship, her look, even her relationship with her mom. It consumes all of her until she doesn’t feel safe anymore, and I thought it was interesting to watch that unfold.
While I detest bullying and would never condone it, the topic is not completely black and white. At least, when you see both parties involved. Although, they didn’t focus on Yaqui’s viewpoint, Medina drops several hints that point out Yaqui’s bad upbringing. I think it would have been interesting to explore that.
The resolution is not ideal, but it’s realistic and I like that because, it’s not an easy issue to fix.
However, the story teaches us to learn to ask for help while also learning to choose your battles.
I really liked the character interactions, specifically the Piddy, Ma, and Lila dynamic. Why? Because my family has that very close friend that’s practically part of our family and known for years. I loved Lila and Piddy’s relationship, and she’s one of the few supporting characters that play a significant role in her life. Which reminds me, the side characters are just that, on the side. This story definitely focuses on Piddy’s struggle and the changes she goes through because of the bullying.
The writing felt like home to me. Just like Piddy, Spanish is part of my daily existence so it’s nice to read a book that gets it. Whenever I read a book that incorporates Spanish into the character’s lives it reminds me of that Nelson Mandela quote:
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
I couldn’t agree more, and it’s how I feel when I see a little bits of Spanish in books. It’s a pleasant surprise. However, it is a slow beginning as it pieces the story together before it picks up the pace.
Anyway, I would definitely recommend this book to anybody interested in the topic and how it affects people.