What’s not special about celebrating your quinceanera? This traditional fifteenth birthday celebration is a special time for many young ladies as they enter adulthood. But there is always someone who is a little hesitant in keeping up with traditions. For Kat Fajardo’s protagonist in her newest graphic novel, Miss Quinces, a family party with dancing and dresses is not her thing.
Young comic artist Suyapa Yisel Gutierrez, or Sue for short, is so not looking forward to her trip to Honduras. Not only is she miles away from her friends and summer camp, she is staying out in the country with no cell service, Wi-Fi, or cable and visiting her loud relatives. Things go from bad to worse when she finds out that her mother is planning her quinceanera behind her back. The family is so excited for her but Sue would rather skip it. Wearing a frilly dress and making speeches is just not her. However, with some coaxing from her grandmother and a willing compromise with her mother, Sue settles into the planning stages of her party and gets a chance to finally express herself.
Fajardo’s graphic novel combines the craziness and love of family. Readers will be reminded of their own families after witnessing emotional and hilarious scenes between Sue and her relatives. The main character’s journey to rid her of self-doubt and to be expressive in her own special way is reminiscent of any teenager’s life. Along with her storytelling, Fajardo has created a diverse cast of characters with their own unique style and expressions. Scenes of Honduras’ countryside, city life, folklore, languages, home life, and meals provide U.S.-based readers with a look into a place different from their own, Readers of Latinx descendant will find a connection with Sue and her culture, especially young girls who are preparing for their own quinceanera. For those unfamiliar with the celebration, the author provides a brief explanation of the party, its traditions and photos from her own.
Kat Fajardo’s Miss Quinces is a definite purchase for school and public libraries. Middle school and junior high school readers who enjoy reading graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier, Kayla Miller, and Terri Libenson will want to give this one a try. For libraries who serve a bilingual community, it will be beneficial to include Miss Quinces in their graphic novel collection, along with the Spanish edition that will be published simultaneously with the English one.
Miss Quinces Vol.
By Kat Fajardo
Scholastic GRAPHIX, 2022
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Teen (13-16), Tween (10-13)
Creator Representation: Latinx, Character Representation: Honduran, Latinx,