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Violet Paz has just turned 15, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quinceañero. But while Violet is half Cuban, she’s also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family’s passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, Violet Paz has just turned 15, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quinceañero. But while Violet is half Cuban, she’s also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family’s passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, and dancing to Latin music, Violet knows little about Cuban culture, nada about quinces, and only tidbits about the history of Cuba. So when Violet begrudgingly accepts Abuela’s plans for a quinceañero–and as she begins to ask questions about her Cuban roots–cultures and feelings collide. The mere mention of Cuba and Fidel Castro elicits her grandparents’ sadness and her father’s anger. Only Violet’s aunt Luz remains open-minded. With so many divergent views, it’s not easy to know what to believe. All Violet knows is that she’s got to form her own opinions, even if this jolts her family into unwanted confrontations. After all, a quince girl is supposed to embrace responsibility–and to Violet that includes understanding the Cuban heritage that binds her to a homeland she’s never seen. This is Nancy Osa’s first novel. From the Hardcover edition.


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Violet Paz has just turned 15, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quinceañero. But while Violet is half Cuban, she’s also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family’s passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, Violet Paz has just turned 15, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quinceañero. But while Violet is half Cuban, she’s also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family’s passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, and dancing to Latin music, Violet knows little about Cuban culture, nada about quinces, and only tidbits about the history of Cuba. So when Violet begrudgingly accepts Abuela’s plans for a quinceañero–and as she begins to ask questions about her Cuban roots–cultures and feelings collide. The mere mention of Cuba and Fidel Castro elicits her grandparents’ sadness and her father’s anger. Only Violet’s aunt Luz remains open-minded. With so many divergent views, it’s not easy to know what to believe. All Violet knows is that she’s got to form her own opinions, even if this jolts her family into unwanted confrontations. After all, a quince girl is supposed to embrace responsibility–and to Violet that includes understanding the Cuban heritage that binds her to a homeland she’s never seen. This is Nancy Osa’s first novel. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Cuba 15

  1. 5 out of 5

    Casey Strauss

    Violet Paz, the 15 year old narrator of Cuba 15, is finding herself in the middle of preparing for her quinceranero, a traditional party thrown for fifteen year old girls in Latin American countries. The problem? Violet has no interest in celebrating. Wearing a pink dress and a tiara in front of all of her friends and family is the last activity she would ever want to participate in. She is more interested in her speech team, her friends, and American culture. Violet’s father is from Cuba, while Violet Paz, the 15 year old narrator of Cuba 15, is finding herself in the middle of preparing for her quinceranero, a traditional party thrown for fifteen year old girls in Latin American countries. The problem? Violet has no interest in celebrating. Wearing a pink dress and a tiara in front of all of her friends and family is the last activity she would ever want to participate in. She is more interested in her speech team, her friends, and American culture. Violet’s father is from Cuba, while her mother is Polish American. Throughout the story, Violet learns more about a culture that at first seems so foreign to her. Nancy Osa has created a strong voice in the character of Violet. The writing is often witty, and Violet’s sense of humor is illustrated throughout the book. She is a typical teenager, with the typical worries, yet she is trying to figure out what culture she feels she fits best; American or Cuban. There is conflict between Violet and her father as she is looking for answers and desires to know more about his life growing up in Cuba. Violet is surrounded by her Latin American culture, and when she takes a Spanish class, she desires to know more about where she is from. The character of Violet shows growth throughout the story, as she learns more about her roots and where her family is from. Seventh graders and up would enjoy reading this coming of age story, discussions of acceptance, understanding, and cultural diversity could tie into the novel. This is a realistic fiction novel that many cross-cultural students will relate to. Readers, who enjoyed Pam Munoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising, would also enjoy this story, told also from the point of view of a strong female voice coming of age in America.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This was a cute book about a thouroughly Americanized half Cuban/half Polish girl whose family wants her to embrace some of her Cuban roots. I thought it showed pretty accurately how many mixed race kids are often taught to ignore their white side as not having a culture. It also showed the difficulty of refugees assimilating to America and was a good portrait of friendship, although the praise of Che Geuverra, who murdered millions of people was nauseating. No one teaches that side of the This was a cute book about a thouroughly Americanized half Cuban/half Polish girl whose family wants her to embrace some of her Cuban roots. I thought it showed pretty accurately how many mixed race kids are often taught to ignore their white side as not having a culture. It also showed the difficulty of refugees assimilating to America and was a good portrait of friendship, although the praise of Che Geuverra, who murdered millions of people was nauseating. No one teaches that side of the story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    Boring. The characters were poorly developed and the story was incredibly predictable with no pay off. My 13 year old summed it up by saying: "predictable story about a girl who has to get to know her culture, participate in some traditional activity, resists it but does it in the end and is glad she did." A book with potential that disappointed, especially since it was recommended by our local children's librarian.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Ruiz

    Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa is a novel about a girl named Violet Paz who has just turned fifteen. Her Cuban family is planning a fifteen party for her. Violet isn’t so much for the party because she doesn’t know much about her Cuban culture. She is full American and doesn’t speak a lot of Spanish but she can understand most of it. Violet isn’t as excited about her party like her family is. She’s not the type of girl to wear dresses or heels. Violets grandma is all about her quince that she soon accepts Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa is a novel about a girl named Violet Paz who has just turned fifteen. Her Cuban family is planning a fifteen party for her. Violet isn’t so much for the party because she doesn’t know much about her Cuban culture. She is full American and doesn’t speak a lot of Spanish but she can understand most of it. Violet isn’t as excited about her party like her family is. She’s not the type of girl to wear dresses or heels. Violets grandma is all about her quince that she soon accepts to have one. While planning her party she learns more about her culture. Her family goes through the history of Cuba and emotions spread. I really enjoyed reading this novel. It was sweet and very emotional, I could relate to Violet and her family. Mexico celebrates fifteen parties the way Cuba does. When I turned fifteen my parents offered to throw a party but in the end I decided not to have one since most of my family lives in Mexico. It’s a tradition to throw a big party once a girl turns fifteen. The characters in the book made it more enjoyable with their humor. My favorite character was abuela, she reminds me of mine. The way the author added some Spanish words in the novel made it more delightful as well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Zemsky

    The theme was that be brave some things are about you.

  6. 4 out of 5

    BOOKTURNER29

    Loved this book! It was super relatable for me since I don't look Spanish like the main character so it makes me feel disconnected from my culture. I really appreciated this story and all of the characters. It felt like I was with my family.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Garcia

    Allow me to start off by saying that this is nowhere near the genre of books that I usually enjoy to read, so it's something out of my comfort zone. However, I surprisingly enjoyed the book very much and continued to read it until the end. I highly encourage everyone to read this book of and read something from a different genre. "Cuba 15," written by Nancy Osa, is a book that begins with Violet's grandmother wanting to plan a quinceañero for Violet because she feels that it is a necessity. In Allow me to start off by saying that this is nowhere near the genre of books that I usually enjoy to read, so it's something out of my comfort zone. However, I surprisingly enjoyed the book very much and continued to read it until the end. I highly encourage everyone to read this book of and read something from a different genre. "Cuba 15," written by Nancy Osa, is a book that begins with Violet's grandmother wanting to plan a quinceañero for Violet because she feels that it is a necessity. In her grandmother's eyes, it is a transition from being a child into womanhood. Since her grandmother is Cuban, she finds this practice should be done whenever someone turns 15, though, in the eyes of Violet, she feels American and isn't looking forward to it. After much talking and having to discuss certain specifications with her family, Violet agrees to have her quinceañero with some of her own rules. Violet also does not know much about her culture, so she resorts to having to do research and reading a book on what occurs during a quinceañero. Throughout the book, Violet attempts to understand her family and the culture while preparing and performing a comedy sketch inspired by her family. Soon enough, Violet's perspective begins to change as she starts to realize and learn what it really means to have a quinceañero and accepts the idea. Overall, Cuba 15 is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading because it was something that I am not normally used to, so it gave me insight to a different type of book. Additionally, Nancy Osa includes humor in the book to get the reader hooked and feel as if they are part of the story, which was very effective in my opinion. I would recommend this book to anyone who feels that they would like to learn a bit about a different heritage and would like to have some laughs as well.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aly Gutierrez

    • Book summary -This is a wonderful multicultural coming of age story. Violet is the protagonist of this story and she did not know much about her Cuban culture. Her grandmother convinced her to have a quinceanera, even though she fought through the whole process. Did not want the big sparkly dress and definitely did not want to get escorted by a boy. Though, throughout the planning of her party, she learned a great deal about her culture. By the time her party came around, she was excited. She • Book summary -This is a wonderful multicultural coming of age story. Violet is the protagonist of this story and she did not know much about her Cuban culture. Her grandmother convinced her to have a quinceanera, even though she fought through the whole process. Did not want the big sparkly dress and definitely did not want to get escorted by a boy. Though, throughout the planning of her party, she learned a great deal about her culture. By the time her party came around, she was excited. She now has a new boyfriend, and is more connected to her Cuban roots. • Pura Belpre Honor Award • Grade level, interest level, Lexile -750L 6th-8th grade. • Appropriate classroom use (subject area) -Read while learning about other cultures. Learning multiculturalism is essential in our multicultural society. • Individual students who might benefit from reading -Students that are Hispanic and know about a quinceanera will greatly enjoy learning about the culture and read this coming of age story. • Small group use (literature circles) -After reading, students can analyze the events that occurred and what they learned about her Cuban culture. How might her family and culture relate to yours? What did you find interesting after reading? • Whole class use (read aloud) -After reading, ask students what they found interesting or if there was anything that they could relate to. • Related books in genre/subject or content area -“Quinceanera means sweet fifteen” by Veronia Chambers is another good book for the students that are interested in reading more stories about girls and their quinceaneras. • Multimedia connections -Available with Kindle or as a paperback copy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ruhama

    A rollicking look at the Cuban quinceanero, a special ceremony for girls who turn 15. Violet Paz is half Cuban, half Polish, and her father’s mother has decided Violet needs to have her quinceanero, though Violet barely speaks Spanish, knows little of her Cuban heritage (her father is quite close-mouthed about it) and Violet dislikes almost all aspects of the traditional party (especially having to wear a dress). Violet learns to love her family and her heritage, though it takes joining the A rollicking look at the Cuban quinceanero, a special ceremony for girls who turn 15. Violet Paz is half Cuban, half Polish, and her father’s mother has decided Violet needs to have her quinceanero, though Violet barely speaks Spanish, knows little of her Cuban heritage (her father is quite close-mouthed about it) and Violet dislikes almost all aspects of the traditional party (especially having to wear a dress). Violet learns to love her family and her heritage, though it takes joining the speech team to do so. Violet is picked to do Original Comedy, and she creates a routine that personifies her family perfectly—right down to the accents her grandparents have. In the end, Violet has her quinceanero the way she likes it—wearing pants—and her whole family learns more about themselves and how to share with one another. Osa has written a fun story (parts of the story are laugh-out-loud) that shows the ups and downs a family, particularly a biracial family, goes through, particularly when one family member is a teenager. Violet’s character grows and changes through the course of the novel at a believable rate, and the characters around Violet are not cardboard cut-outs, including her little brother, her best friends, her new boyfriend and her extended family. Spanish phrases are sprinkled throughout and fit the text accordingly. Even readers who aren’t in a blended family will enjoy this title.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lourdes Ryczek

    I was interested in this story because Violet is half Cuban and half Polish. just like my children. Her Cuban grandmother wants to celebrate her Quince/15th birthday with a traditional Cuban party. What the story doesn't explore is that long ago young ladies were presented in society at these sorts of parties. It was a right of passage, a way to show that your daughter was grown up, a woman. In many cases, ready for marriage! As a modern Cuban myself, I refused to have this sort of party because I was interested in this story because Violet is half Cuban and half Polish. just like my children. Her Cuban grandmother wants to celebrate her Quince/15th birthday with a traditional Cuban party. What the story doesn't explore is that long ago young ladies were presented in society at these sorts of parties. It was a right of passage, a way to show that your daughter was grown up, a woman. In many cases, ready for marriage! As a modern Cuban myself, I refused to have this sort of party because I didn't agree with this mentality. Quince parties have become an embarrassment in the culture. Many times, families have extravagant parties that they cannot afford. It has gotten out of hand. Violet's party was moving in just that direction. My favorite part of the book is the exploration of three generations under on roof. It reminded me of my childhood in that way.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    Three and a half stars is about right. Terrific story - lots of information about bicultural families, a bit slow in parts. Ages 12-14 is most appropriate for this book but it's a good, solid read for those who enjoy contemporary family and teen stories. The Cuban father and the American mother are firm and loving and wacky, a welcome change from so many of the teen angst books with dysfunctional or non-existent parents. This book is also completely free of violence, swearing, and any Three and a half stars is about right. Terrific story - lots of information about bicultural families, a bit slow in parts. Ages 12-14 is most appropriate for this book but it's a good, solid read for those who enjoy contemporary family and teen stories. The Cuban father and the American mother are firm and loving and wacky, a welcome change from so many of the teen angst books with dysfunctional or non-existent parents. This book is also completely free of violence, swearing, and any inappropriate situations. Learn about Cuban tradition and music - read this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    Cuba 15 reminded me of a 15-year-old version of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," with a quinceanera instead of a wedding. It was entertaining, with a relatable premise, but to be perfectly honest the jokes weren't all that funny, and the writing seemed a little perfunctory at times. I was happy to find that it didn't include much swearing, which gets tiresome after a while. Overall, it wasn't a waste of time to read, but I think I could've found something better.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Raquel Castaneda

    I like this books so far because it has to do with a girl that barely became 15 and her Cuban grandmother wants her to have a quinceañera. The thing is that she doesn't want one because she doesn't like dresses & it doesn't fit her personality. While planning she's starting to get to the idea of actually wanting one. I can't wait to finish it!:)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    I've come to a decision to not force myself to read books that I don't enjoy. I got to 25% and still can't get this book to be interesting. I don't feel interested in characters who occupy page after page of stereotype. Here's a Haiku for this book: blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

  15. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I really enjoyed this fun coming-of-age novel. Violet Paz is a character that brought smiles to my face over and over again as she prepared for her quince. She is half Cuban and half Polish and is working out what that means. There is a nice dose of humor throughout the book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Rubio

    As a half-Cuban, half-Polish girl myself, I knew I had to check out this book (even if I'm a good decade older than the protagonist). It's a cute coming-of-age story that I feel like was pretty accurate to my own early teen years in the late 90's/early 2000's before my friends and I were consumed with the internet and were still fairly innocent as we crossed from middle school into high school. I never had a quince myself, but what really hit home with me was the relationship that the older As a half-Cuban, half-Polish girl myself, I knew I had to check out this book (even if I'm a good decade older than the protagonist). It's a cute coming-of-age story that I feel like was pretty accurate to my own early teen years in the late 90's/early 2000's before my friends and I were consumed with the internet and were still fairly innocent as we crossed from middle school into high school. I never had a quince myself, but what really hit home with me was the relationship that the older generations of Violet's family had with Cuba, the history, current relations with the US etc. which is also pretty true of my own family. The culture is very, very strong at home but Cuba itself is a very sore subject and was not often talked about unless we were reminiscing about pig roasts or some such. The book did drag in parts, but I liked how the culture was woven in and became a major topic of conversation at the end, not only because Violet starts asking more serious "adult" questions and takes the initiative to learn more on her own, but because it also broaches the subject of relations between older and younger generations, and how that relates to experience and understanding as well as communication.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    I thought this was a well-written and humorous story with an interesting background context. It's not a 5 for me because I found a lot of it to be quite predictable. Also, I tend to be critical of books with female characters who are very against dresses, the color pink, and other "traditional" feminine things. To me that is the easiest way to start writing a "strong" female character, but I find it cliché. The dislike of dresses plays a big role in this book, so that prevented me from totally I thought this was a well-written and humorous story with an interesting background context. It's not a 5 for me because I found a lot of it to be quite predictable. Also, I tend to be critical of books with female characters who are very against dresses, the color pink, and other "traditional" feminine things. To me that is the easiest way to start writing a "strong" female character, but I find it cliché. The dislike of dresses plays a big role in this book, so that prevented me from totally loving this. BUT that said, the context that this book is set in (a girl whose Cuban family won't talk to her about Cuba because of their political experiences in the country) was very interesting.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Larissa

    It was cute! Honestly there was a lot of queerbaiting lmao but it's whatever...I appreciated the mixed-race Latina representation (especially with two cultures that aren't often paired together--as a Polish-Brazilian-American I loved this) and the main character opens up a conversation I would've loved to think about in early high school.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Peralta-Sauls

    I learned nothing about Cuba and I don’t think Violet did either. For the entire book to be built around her introduction to womanhood, there was very little tie in between what she knew about herself and what she learned. It’s been a few years since I was 15, but, good grief, I hope I want that narcissistic. It was cringe worthy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joslin

    I enjoyed this--was a fun and easy read, albeit a bit dated already with the house phone references. Fun little book to read if you have some interest in Cuban Americans or if you are involved in a Speech club.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Enjoyable, sweet and will be a great addition to my classroom library this fall. Found it similar to My Basmati Batmitzva

  22. 5 out of 5

    ANDREA

    Great coming of age story from a different culture's perspective!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sanaiya V

    no plot whatsoever

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Gensler

    This book is a great story, with lots of laughter and coming of age. I quickly fell in love with the characters, and was sad to end the book! Overall a wonderful novel, and I hope to read more by the author!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Esmeralda

    Cuba 15 is a story of a girl named Violet Paz. She is half Polish on her mother’s side and also half Cuban on her father’s side, which is where the idea of having a quinceñero rises from. As mentioned in the book, a quinceñero (or quince) is a tradition in most Latin American countries where family and friends will organize “a fifteenth-year coming-of-age ceremony” where they guide a young woman into adulthood. Violet isn’t the type of girl to wear dresses and celebrating her quince años was Cuba 15 is a story of a girl named Violet Paz. She is half Polish on her mother’s side and also half Cuban on her father’s side, which is where the idea of having a quinceñero rises from. As mentioned in the book, a quinceñero (or quince) is a tradition in most Latin American countries where family and friends will organize “a fifteenth-year coming-of-age ceremony” where they guide a young woman into adulthood. Violet isn’t the type of girl to wear dresses and celebrating her quince años was something she never would have thought of until her Abuela (grandmother) mentions it. She isn’t all too enthusiastic about this type of celebration especially because she is already 15 years old, but she reluctantly accepts her Abuela’s proposal on organizing her quince. As she starts to learn more about the traditional quinceñero, she starts to question her Cuban roots, and turns to her dad for answers. He himself is not about to provide her with any information since he left Cuba at a young age, and doesn’t want to talk about anything related to the political issues that were occurring in Cuba at the time. Violet then starts to question her aunt Luz about her Cuban roots and she then tells Violet about the issues that happened in Cuba and introduces Violet to the culture, such as the music. Violet starts to learn more about her Cuban roots and then starts to change the way she feels about celebrating her quince, now she feels more excited and is looking forward to the day of the celebration. As she continues to learn more about Cuba, Violet joins a speech club with her close friends (and 'damas' for her quince) Leda and Janell. It is in this speech club that she meets a boy named Clarence and their relationship start to develop. Although her father was okay with her being in a speech club, Violet’s father did not approve of her learning about her Cuban roots and threatens to cancel the celebration of her quince, but her mother talks to him and explains to him that he cannot stop or hide Violet from learning about who she is and about the things that occurred in Cuba. In the end Violet’s family continues on with the plans for her quince and it turns out to be a great day for her, Abuela changed a few things to the dress she was going to wear, making her quince something that reflected who she truly is. The theme for this story would be that you cannot try to hide who someone is, for they will always find out who they truly are and their roots. In the text, Violet’s father tries to hide the history of Cuba from her and refuses to let her learn about her Cuban roots, but in the end, she learn about her roots thanks to her aunt that seems to be more open about the culture of Cuba and its history. At the beginning of the story, Violet didn’t care much about celebrating her quince, but over time, as she started to find out who she really was, and her roots, her way of thinking changed. She started to like the idea of having a quince and in fact, she was shocked and upset when her father threatened to cancel her quince. By the end of the story, Violet was more mature and had a different form of thinking. I would recommend this book to girls who may be unsure of whether or not they would want to celebrate their quince or for anyone who would like to read a book that has humor, expresses the importance in knowing about where you are from, and shows how important family can be.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ashly

    I loved how her grandmother felt the need to do violet a quinceanera. And it was a very interesting book accept the part when violet just agreed to do the quinceanera just for her grandma other than her self.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa is a story about Violet Paz who is half Cuban half Polish. Her grandmother insists that Violet will have a Quinceanero which is a cuban celebration for a girls 15th birthday. The age when a girl enters womanhood. In Violet's circle of friends no one has had this type of celebration. Despite being of mixed backgrounds, Violet feels completely American, so she does not want to have a Quinceanero. She even thinks about how much she will dislike standing up infront of everyone Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa is a story about Violet Paz who is half Cuban half Polish. Her grandmother insists that Violet will have a Quinceanero which is a cuban celebration for a girls 15th birthday. The age when a girl enters womanhood. In Violet's circle of friends no one has had this type of celebration. Despite being of mixed backgrounds, Violet feels completely American, so she does not want to have a Quinceanero. She even thinks about how much she will dislike standing up infront of everyone in a pink frilly dress, but her mom also insists she have this party. Violet speakes little Spanish knows very little about her Cuban heritage. Since she must have this party, she decides to learn a little about her heritage and Cubancustumes. In the process, something amazing happens, she finds out more about her identity. She finds out that she does not have to make the celebration so traditional, and picks an "All the worlds' a stage" theme. Her friends help her with this. As she is preparing for this celebration, Violet studies and writes about her family to help her understand them better. In addition to this planning she writes a comedy speech for a speech tournament, and uses her family's domino games as part of the comedy material. She even participates in a rally for Cuba. Ultimately, Violet realizes that she is made up of past and present cultures. This is who she is. Again there is a text to world connection here as a young girl finds out that heritage is a huge part of who she is, even if she feels 100% American.I feel that this goes on real life as many people aren't truly aware of their heritage, on decide to learn more about it later in life. I rate this book 5 stars. I really enjoyed how violet started to learn about her Cuban heritage, and it helped her realize its part of who she is. I recommend this book for any teen who maybe curious about their own identity.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tiana

    Cuba 15, by Nancy Osa, is about a girl named Violet Paz who is half Cuban and half Polish. She struggles to get more in touch with her Cuban side, after being exposed to the American culture. When her grandmother, who is Cuban, wants her to have a Quinceanera. A Quinceanera is a party, Sort of like a sweet sixteen, that Cuban girls have when they reach the age of 15, which is the age that a girl reaches womanhood, and becomes self reliant. While they start their preparation for the party, Violet Cuba 15, by Nancy Osa, is about a girl named Violet Paz who is half Cuban and half Polish. She struggles to get more in touch with her Cuban side, after being exposed to the American culture. When her grandmother, who is Cuban, wants her to have a Quinceanera. A Quinceanera is a party, Sort of like a sweet sixteen, that Cuban girls have when they reach the age of 15, which is the age that a girl reaches womanhood, and becomes self reliant. While they start their preparation for the party, Violet wants and becomes interested in her Cuban hertitage. When she does some research, she realizes that her Cuban side isnt so bad, and that she can have mixed cultures and make traditonally things, her own. She starts to undertsand her Cuban family. Violet's internal conflict is deciding who she is as a girl, and what culture she should follow. Her external conflict is showing all sides to her, her American side, her Cuban side, and her Polish side. While reading this book I came across a a text to world connection. During the book, Violet is unaware of her Cuban culture. I think that many kids have this problem. They aren't really exposed to their heritage, and so they follow pop culture, or cultures that arent even their own. There are many different situations where people don't even know their roots so they resort to another culture. I'd rate this book 4 stars. It really shows how she struggled, and the different challlenges that Violet had to face. It also shows how people find and create new identities for themselves when they follow cultures. I didnt rate it 5 stars becuase it was slow, i thought i could have been a little faster, but other than that the book was excellent. I'd reccomend this book to people who relates to finding their heritage or family background, and to peoplt who like Nancy Osa.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Sarmiento

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It was amazing but it might not make as much sense if you don't know some Spanish.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    When I asked my wife how she liked Cuba 15, she told me it was cute, but that it was maybe too girly for me. I told her that if I could read Little Women, then nothing was too girly for me. Actually, I figured that since I liked The House on Mango Street and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, then I would probably like this book too. I was right. I finished it in two sittings. Violet Paz is half Cuban American and Polish American, but she thinks of herself as simply American. But then her When I asked my wife how she liked Cuba 15, she told me it was cute, but that it was maybe too girly for me. I told her that if I could read Little Women, then nothing was too girly for me. Actually, I figured that since I liked The House on Mango Street and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, then I would probably like this book too. I was right. I finished it in two sittings. Violet Paz is half Cuban American and Polish American, but she thinks of herself as simply American. But then her grandmother decides that Violet needs to have a quinceanero, or quince, which is a traditional coming of age celebration when a Cuban girl turns 15. Violet hardly knows anything about her Cuban heritage: she doesn't speak Spanish, and her father refuses to talk about his homeland. Violet starts off by getting a For Dummies book to learn about the traditional customs of her Cuban relatives. But it's her need to find material for her comedic speech club routines that drives her to pay more attention to her family, and to probe them about their homeland. Violet loves to makes jokes, and her wit is sprinkled on every page. This makes me want to describe the book as The House on Mango Street meets The Gilmore Girls. Aside from her father's anti-Castro stance, there aren't any major problems for Violet to overcome, just the normal teenage growing pains: refining her speech club routine, finding the right dress for her quince, dating, etc. What the book lacks in depth, it makes up for with its cheeriness. For readers who are weary of the "serious" (and often depressing) teen novel, Cuba 15 is a light and refreshing treat.

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