Mayra Lazara Dole’s Down to the Bone will be talked of everywhere this year in the GLBT blogs, but should be purchased for all high school collections. (Yes, I know I’m an elementary school librarian this year, but this book was amazing and I couldn’t resist reading it.)
Controversial? Sure. More explicit than most novels I see daily? Sure. But, an absolutely amazing book that kept me reading and avoiding all phone calls. This book can’t be pigeon-holed. It is a debut novel written in response to the questions, "Where are all the lesbian books? Where’s the racial diversity?"
Laura is a Cuban-American girl in Miami who is caught reading a love letter from a girl while at her Catholic school. As she is ejected from the school, her mother rejects her "deviance" and throws her from the family. Laura struggles to discover herself, her place in a family, and her sexual preferences while trying to deny and change herself. Her struggle and decisions are realistic.
Mayra Lazara Dole involves you so deeply with this character that I found myself cheering for Laura to accept her feelings and to stop trying to be what others expected. Teenage love angst, relationships with peers, dropping out of school, and trying to maintain family sibling relationships despite all obstacles. This book was an amazing debut. It is joyous, hilarious, fun and stretches you emotionally. The descriptions of Miami were lively and we were able to glimpse life in Cuba and Puerto Rico from the conversations of characters. A Refreshing and needed title.
Count how many times I said "Amazing". Get the picture.