Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: Marisol and Magdalena:The Sound of our Sisterhood by Veronica Chambers

Marisol and Magdalena: The Sound of our Sisterhood by Veronica Chambers
What was it about this book that really called to me? I'll tell you what! The chronicles of an Afro-Latina, that's what!
I mean how many chances have I had the chance to read a book featuring a girl who looks like me and comes from a similar culture as me! To hell with it being Middle Grade, I so needed this in my life and I'm sure any Afro-Latina would understand why.

Marisol and Magdalena:The Sound of our Sisterhood follows two Afro-Latinas(but mostly Marisol) and how they survive not having each other around during Marisol's summer in Panama, the first time they've been away from each other since the beginning of their friendship. And with as young as they are, it isn't always an easy thing to do.

In Marisol's journey to Panama it is her mission to learn as much as she can about her mother's country by the summer's end but really she'd love a chance to track down and meet her father, who she's never met. 

First off, the main reason I picked up this book was because it featured Afro-Latinas, one "Negra", or black(Marisol) and the other "triguena", someone in between races, darker skinned but not fully black(Magdalena). Marisol took up most of the screentime as the story focused mainly on her since she was the one being sent to live with family in her mother's native country, Panama. (Note:Magdalena's parents were also from Panama)and I was thrilled to see a darker skinned protagonist with natural hair take center stage and lead this story.

Marisol's character was highly relatable to me. I was one of those girls who struggled with spanish at a young age, often switching to spanglish instead so her and her friend reminded me of me and my sister! 

I think that the plot is really cute and light. It isn't what I would call a heavy story but it's middle grade so I suppose it's supposed to be fun. 

There were times I thought that the title was a little misleading because it appears to be mainly about Marisol. There were no chapters dedicated to what Magdalena was doing without Marisol and the title suggests that it's about both of them equally and for that I wished this book could have been longer. I would have loved for this book for be maybe just 100 pages more. Some of the details felt rushed at times and I would have loved more interaction with Magdalena in terms of how she was dealing with Marisol's absence at home. Maybe in this case it would have been cool to have a dual POV from both of their perspectives.  I took out 3 points from the character development area for this reason otherwise it would have scored somewhere closer to a 5.

The editing met an industry standard. It's traditionally published, therefore had the resources to be perfected. When a book is edited well, it's not a trouble to read at all, whereas some books I read that aren't edited well, if i'm not marking it a DNF, I'm putting it down constantly.

The Diversity was amazing, probably one of the few books that showcases that Latinos come in every race. I have a problem when the only books that they choose to publish featuring Latino characters all happen to be white Latinos, like Selena Gomez or Victoria Justice and this book was great at tearing down that overused image. I gave it every point in our diversity category because Marisol was really proud of being herself and didn't seem to have the self esteem issues I had growing up being Afro-Latina(I'm Cuban American). It was nice to read a story of a girl feeling close to her parents culture but also close to American culture. At a young age i was very attached to Pop and Hip-Hop culture. I wasn't okay with being Cuban, because where I lived in the East Coast, everyone was either Puerto Rican or Dominican in addition to being white. So I didn't look like anyone I knew when I lived in FL. Being Cuban was something that made me different than black kids and different from Latino kids. Boy, did I really need a book like this growing up. My self Identity would have taken a whole different turn.

An added bonus was her love interest, Ruben. He was sooo adorable. And it really reminded me of how different kids from Latin America are in terms of dating. When I started dating(I was a late bloomer because my folks were Latin American. I went on my first date at 18)it was expected of me to get permission to start and for my mom to meet the guy who wanted to date me and to know his family, whereas my other American friends just freely dated. Friends thought I was weird and I thought they were weird. But that's just the way it is in non-American culture sometimes, and this book had a very great way of depicting that. 

OMG, the cover is so cute. And they say covers with POC on the cover don't sell but this was the main reason I picked it up in the first place. The names used in the book were cute, but maybe a little common if you're Latina like myself, But Marisol is a beautiful name. "Mar"=Sea or ocean, I sometimes replaces the "y"since they sound the same in spanish which means "and" and "Sol"=Sun. So Marisol is like Sea and Sun. So pretty!The book does a great job at describing the characters to paint a pretty good picture and the title really fits the book.

My Dream Cast:
The whole time I was thinking about those two little girls from Spike Lee's Crooklyn. Even though I think they're a little younger than Marisol and Magdalena, It doesn't take much more than to envision them a little older.

 Zelda Harris was my Marisol
And Tiasha Reyes was my Magdalena
Silvestre Rasuk was my Ruben, with his fine self! 

None of these actors are Panamanian but Silvestre is Dominican and Tiasha is Puerto Rican. Finding Afro-Latina actresses are nearly impossible to find that aren't "Triguena", or mixed looking so I choose to cast an AA girl instead.

Libertad's rating:


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