Winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award
In Meg Medina’s compelling new novel, a Latina teen is targeted by a bully at her new school – and must discover resources she never knew she had.
One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhoood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.
As someone who works in a high school, the theme of bullying is one that I am all too familiar with. In Meg Medina’s Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass we are presented with the verisimilitude of bullying and the ways in which it is dealt with within the educational system.
Piddy is your average teenager. When her mother decides to move to another area Piddy is forced to move schools due to the catchment area. She knows no one and is unfamiliar with her surroundings but is determined just to get on with things. She slowly makes friends with some of the quieter members of her cohort but one day is told that the school bully is out to get her. Piddy has no idea why and at first doesn’t take the threat seriously. However, as the bully – Yaqui Delgado – ups the level of torment, Piddy has to face the fact that she is on her hit-list.
What is truly brilliant about this story is the way that Meg Medina makes you feel the helpless desperation of Piddy Sanchez. She doesn’t know who to turn to and like most people her age; she feels that telling someone in authority will only make things worse. She silently deals with the torment and becomes more and more affected. It is horrible to read but equally it is damn important.
This is one of the most realistic books based on the theme of bullying that I have ever read and my heart hurt for Piddy on too many pages. Every library in every school should stock this book.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina is available now.
Follow Meg Medina (@Meg_Medina) on Twitter.