Monday, October 1, 2012

The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Sonia Rodriguez is determined to be the first in her family to graduate from high school.  However, Fortune does not seem to be favoring her aspirations.  As the oldest daughter in a traditional Mexican-American family, she must balance the academic demands of her teachers (at least one of which is an out-of-touch bigot) with the nearly all-consuming demands of her family.  When she balks at these responsibilities and focuses on her school work she is chastised and misjudged as conceited and lazy and sent to her abuelita’s in Mexico for the summer.  She soon realizes that she may have been doing a great deal of misjudging herself.  Sonia returns home with a new sense of her history and vision for her future, but the old obstacles remain as stubborn as ever and bad situations escalate quickly.  Will Sonia’s determination be enough to see her through?

Inspired by the lives and stories of the author’s own students, and vetted with them each step of the way, The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez is a modern Cinderella story, told in the fresh and feisty voice of its protagonist.  Beyond being an engaging coming-of-age story, it is also an interesting examination of stereotyping and prejudice in modern American society and full of rich character development.  Readers will find plenty to discuss, analyze, and debate.  With a Lexile of 800, it is aimed at students reading comfortably at a fifth or sixth grade level. --Regan Schwartz

Sitomer, Alan. The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez
. New York: Jump at the Sun Books, 2008. Print.

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