review: the revolution of evelyn serrano

25 August 2012

book info:
ages: 10 and up
on sale: September 1st 2012
copy from: publisher (thanks!)
pages: 224 (slightly larger print and smaller pages)

title: The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano
author: Sonia Manzano

One of America’s most influential Hispanics -- 'Maria' on Sesame Street -- presents a powerful novel set in New York's El Barrio in 1969

There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and stepfather. Her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who's come from Puerto Rico to live with them. Then, like an urgent ticking clock, events erupt that change everything. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest. When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested. Through it all, Evelyn learns important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation. Infused with actual news accounts from the time period, Sonia Manzano has crafted a gripping work of fiction based on her own life growing up during a fiery, unforgettable time in America, when young Latinos took control of their destinies

I didn't realise this was for younger audiences, and thought the premise would make an amazing YA book. Sadly, no. I didn't like this one, but that's coming from me: a critical teenager. From the point of view of a child, this seems OK.

What I don't like is that the characters weren't...alive. Half-empty. The writing didn't bring them out, and to me, characters are most important. Also, it seems that the author was just writing a history book instead of a novel, like she wanted to tell everyone how much she knows on this topic and how much research she did. I'm not feeling it for this one.

Evelyn's friend, and what seems like her only friend, is of course, a boy. His name is Angel (not: ayn-gel, I think, but ahn-gel) It's the name of my favourite character from Red Glass by Laura Resau (a spectacular book, must read!) and his character is also my favourite in this book. There was so much to him that I wanted the author to explore, yet he was just tossed aside, teasing a reader's interest and not really coming full out as a character.

They all seemed to forced and veiled with historical data: not good! What I did like, however, was the cultural influence. It reminds me of the books I've read on Chinatown and the small ethnic community etc... the problems that Manzano explores are really interesting, and I wish she would've expanded on them and made this a longer story. It's WAY too short to get anything done.

All in all, I give this book a one and a half tree rating. The characters weren't fully developed, the emotion of the story wasn't there, and the book is way too short to really explore anything and get in-depth about the real issues that I wanted to read about. The history was interesting, and that's what the half tree is for! I think children will enjoy this more than young readers, so I recommend it to those children!
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1 thoughts:

  1. great review :)
    thank you for sharing all those info!


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