Undercover Latina — Review

Thought for the Day:

“You can sit there, tense and worried, freezing the creative energies, or you can start writing something. It doesn’t matter what. In five or ten minutes, the imagination will heat, the tightness will fade, and a certain spirit and rhythm will take over.” 
~ Leonard Bernstein ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

The Good Story Company has a good article by Gigi Collins on finding the Dreaded Comp Title HERE.

Janice Hardy always has such great posts. This is no exception. You can find Why Every Plot needs a Ticking Clock HERE at Fiction University.

Anne R. Allen posted James Scott Bell’s Ten Commandments for Writers HERE. This is worth a look.

What a week. The mid-term elections are finally over — well, except for Georgia and some ongoing counting — and the results have been quite a relief for me. I’m keeping my fingers crossed (which makes typing very hard!) for enough house seats to keep the congress where it is now. If it flips, I’m not looking forward to the chaos and investigations. Enough about that. I’m exhausted, so will leave you with more English Teacher jokes.

• An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.
• The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.
• A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned by a man with a glass eye named Ralph.
• The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.
• A dyslexic walks into a bra.
• A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.
• A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.
• A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.
• A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.
• The Edge and Bono walked into a bar. The bartender said, “Oh no! Not U2 again!”
• A homonym walks into a bar and says “ouch”.
• A misnomer walks into a department store.
• An alliteration breezily brushes by a bar.
• An antonym walks into an unbar.
• An onomatopoeia BANGS! into a bar.
• A subjunctive walks into a bar. The mood changes.
• A split infinitive decides to disruptively walk into a bar.
• A Full Stop walks into a bar and puts an end to all this.

I am not a big fan of books that have kids as spies. I find that I have to suspend my disbelief too much to read most of them. But when the publicist from Candlewick Press offered me a copy of Undercover Latina by Aya De León, I read the synopsis and somehow it spoke to me. I’m so glad I asked for a review copy. I really love this book. I think it is largely because I didn’t need to suspend too much disbelief. I felt like this could really happen.

Andréa Hernández-Baldoquín is fourteen when the Factory decides she is ready to take on her first real assignment. They need a teen who can pass for white, and Andréa is light-skinned enough to pass. And her mother will be there with her, so she shouldn’t be in danger. The Factory is a private organization that works toward the protection of the BIPOC community. Andréa’s parents have been working for the Factory for a very long time, but Andréa and her brother have been brought on more recently.

Andréa and her mother are sent to a small town in Arizona. There Andréa is enrolled in school where she is to befriend Kyle Summer, the son of a suspected white supremacist terrorist who the Factory believes has plans to perpetrate a mass killing. Kyle’s father left his mother many years earlier, but the Factory is hoping they are still in touch because they really don’t know where he is. Andréa is immediately befriended by the cool girls, but she sees they may keep her from getting to know shy, geeky Kyle. This undercover stuff is harder than she thought it would be. She soon finds a way to ditch the cool girls without blowing her cover. She discovers Kyle is into a game called Triángulo. She teaches herself enough about the game to worm her way into his life. What she doesn’t count on is meeting Ramón, Kyle’s housemate (their mothers share a rental house) a drop-dead gorgeous guy who is also very into the game. The Factory sends another girl to town who is great at Triángulo to help Andréa find the information they need. But can they find the father before he completes his nefarious plan?

Aya De León has written a very compelling story with rich, complex characters, very realistic (and scary) issues, school drama, and a little romance all presented in beautifully written prose. Best of all, it is completely believable. I loved Andréa’s backstory and am looking forward to future assignments for her from the Factory.

Please don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

27 thoughts on “Undercover Latina — Review”

  1. It’s lovely to start the working week with a smile, and thanks for the weekly chuckle, Rosi! The article on finding comp titles is really good, full of practical advice! The book sounds different from the normal spy adventures, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks again for the links. I went right to the one by Janice Hardy and the others will follow later today. Undercover Latina is on my radar for a future read thanks to your review. The character and themes explored make this a must read. I like that it has some believability to it. A great share for MMGM today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this recommendation, Rosi. It really does feel like it could happen. I’m definitely picking up Undercover Latina.

    As usual, thanks for your wonderful writing tips. Yes, the dreaded comps. The fantastic podcast, “The Shit No One Tells You About Writing” (yes, this is it’s real name) has special episodes dedicated to all things ‘comps.’ Well worth a listen.

    Your English teacher humour? Ouch – in the best possible way.


  4. So glad you enjoyed the review. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the book too. I listen to podcasts on my morning walks. I just added the one you suggested to my list. Thanks for that and thanks for reading and commenting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s