Katie's Reviews > An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio

An Island Like You by Judith Ortiz Cofer
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Feb 15, 10

Read from February 08 to 15, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Stories from various young adults of the Barrio as they struggle to discover themselves and their true identity. Rita ends up having the best summer ever with her grandparents in Puerto Rico. Auturo questions why he's so different. He's not fitting in, dyes his hair purple, loves literature (esp. Shakespeare), & finds his savior in Johann (St. Johann). Auturo doesn't understand his grandpa's hard life, "Nobody is going to stop me from doing what I want with my life (70)(Strength of new generation). Sandra is not pretty, a late bloomer. Mrs. L. tells her that flowers that bloom slowly last longer. Sandra finds her confidence enough to approach Paco. Luis started the Tiburones, but it was meeting Naomi that helped him to grow and understand his father and keeping busy to keep his mind busy. Doris is friend of Yolanda. Yolanda steals, she struggles to come to terms with father's death (shot as security guard) and accept her mother's new relationship with Don Jose. Kenny is tough, until the drug incident/beat up(?), but brought him down a couple levels. Connie feels guilt when she made her abuela feel "like a zero." Most YAs could relate to being embarrassed by a family member. Teresa gets a job by the pool and ends up learning a lot about life from Valentin, though he is mentally handicapped. Rick returns to the Barrio to start a theatre group before he dies, is not accepted there. Quote for thought from Don Quixote (his motto), "I know who I am, and who I may be if I choose." This is what discovery in adolescence is all about! In the end, Doris identifies with Rick as an outsider and thinks of him as a big brother. His death helps her to find her courage at the end, she is no longer invisible... Throws him the birthday party that he never got in life...

YA short stories. Very moralistic, there is an issue but they learn from it by the end of each story. It’s often a good idea to recommend short stories to reluctant readers (Petty Crimes by Gary Soto). Very appealing for YAs. Stresses morals, community, self.
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