Parents' Guide to

Sweet Fifteen

By Norah Caroline Piehl, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Heavy-handed metaphors mar warm story.

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Author Diane Bertrand honestly and lovingly portrays the evolution of contemporary Latino culture. She celebrates traditional aspects of the Latino community, such as the quinceañera, while criticizing others, such as the continued powerlessness of women in many traditional families. Teen readers, however, will regret Bertrand's decision to focus on the adult Rita rather than the teenaged Stefanie. Stefanie occasionally drops out of the action while Rita's business concerns take center stage.

Romance fans might be disappointed by Rita and Brian's romance. The two fall in love so quickly that there's really nowhere for their relationship to go in the rest of the novel. Rita's relationships with her great-grandmother and with Iris are much more dynamic, and together these three women form a textured portrait of the changing face of Latina women.

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