Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review: Graffiti Girl

Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra

Raised by her single mom (who's always dating the wrong kind of man) in a struggling California neighborhood, Angel Rodriguez is a headstrong, independent young woman who channels her hopes and dreams for the future into her painting. But when her entry for a community mural doesn't rate, she's heartbroken. Even with winning artist Nathan Ramos — a senior track star and Angel's secret crush — taking a sudden interest in Angel and her art, she's angry and hurt. She's determined to find her own place in the art world, her own way.

That's when Miguel Badalin — from the notorious graffiti crew Reyes Del Norte — opens her eyes to an underground world of graf tags and turf wars. She's blown away by this bad boy's fantastic work and finds herself drawn to his dangerous charm. Soon she's running with Miguel's crew, pushing her skills to the limit and beginning to emerge as the artist she always dreamed she could be. But Nathan and Miguel are bitter enemies with a shared past, and choosing between them and their wildly different approaches to life and art means that Angel must decide what matters most before the artist inside of her can truly break free.

Reviewed by: Sandra Lopez, author of Esperanza and Beyond the Gardens

Review: What can I say? I loved Angel! She absolutely rocked with her non-glamour, doesn't-give-a-crap attitude. But, like any other teen, she's shy and insecure, especially about her skills as an artist. She never liked to show off her work because she felt it would never compare to the other students, who were far more talented than she could ever come close to. I'm an artist myself, so I know how that feels.

Angel is a character that many Latino youths can relate to. The other characters in this story are so genuine agaisnt the back drop of a barrio neighborhood. I was intrigued by the concept of "graffiti" art as far as the application, the process, and how expressive it can be.

And, like taffy, you will be pulled in opposite directions as Nathan and Miguel battle over Angel's affections. The question was: who was right for her?

Towards the end, Angel must learn there are sacrifices in achieving your dreams and the choices she makes could impact her life forever. A fun YA read full of surprises.

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