Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sweet 15

Sweet 15

Emily Adler, Alex Echevarria
For ages 12 and up
Marshall Cavendish, 2010   ISBN: 978-0761455844

In a few months time, Destiny is going to turn fifteen, and her mother plans on holding a quinceanera for her. A quinceanera is “like a Sweet sixteen party or a bat mitzvah, only the Spanish, or Mexican, or Puerto Rican, or Cuban, or Central or South American version for fifteen-year-old girls.” There is a religious element to the ceremony, but mostly the event is all about pageantry - of a sort. The “Q girl” has a boy escort, a “court” of seven girls and seven boys, and she is expected to wear a fancy gown. She even has to dance the waltz with her escort.

Destiny really isn’t keen on having so much fuss made of her, and her sister America is vehemently apposed to the whole idea of the celebration, which she considers to be a “tool used by The Man to imprison women.” Poor Destiny is not the diva that her mother wants her to be, nor is she the militant feminist that America wants her to be. The hard part is that no one thinks to ask Destiny what she wants, and Destiny is too shy to speak up. To make things even worse, she discovers that the quinceanera of her mother’s dreams is going to cost a fortune. Her parents are not rich people. Where is the money for the celebration going to come from?

In this clever novel, the authors tell a compelling coming-of-age story in the first person. They give their narrator, Destiny, a genuine voice that perfectly captures the young woman’s feelings of confusion and frustration. Destiny tries to please everyone, and ends up pleasing no one, including herself. With sensitivity, the authors explore one teenager’s efforts to find out who she is and what she wants.