Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reviews: WAKING UP IN THE LAND OF GLITTER by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Summary: With glue guns, glitter, twigs, or yarn, the ordinary can become extraordinary . . . especially at La Pachanga. Owned by Estrella "Star" Esteban's family, the restaurant has a rep for two things: good food and great art. La Pachanga brings people together-even when it looks like they couldn't be further apart.

One ill-fated evening, Star jeopardizes her family's business, her relationship with her boyfriend, and her future career. To redeem herself, she agrees to participate in a national craft competition, teaming up with her best friend, Ofelia-a secretly troubled mother whose love for crafting borders on obsession-and local celebrity Chloe Chavez-a determined television personality with more than one skeleton in her professional closet. If these unlikely allies can set aside their differences, they'll find strength they never knew they had, and learn that friendship, like crafting, is truly an art form.

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars

Review: I liked the way it started—very gripping and honest. I totally understood Star’s desire to live her life for herself first and foremost before settling into anything. I especially liked how the author rendered both sides of the complicated love/hate relationship of Star and Theo in a zany, confusing “tug-of-war” way (they basically wanted to love and hate each other at the same time.) The love that Theo had for Star was endearing yet overwhelming (who wouldn’t freak out at the sight of wedding brochures?) Yet he was a good guy, perhaps too good for Star. My first impression of her was that she was a whiny, selfish brat that expected everything to be done for her without doing anything to earn it. Seriously, what did Theo see in her?

Almost every character (particularly Olfie) in the story succumbs to the belief that crafts are the answer to life’s problems and that they make the world happy and perfect. I felt that the whole idea was kind of surreal and unimaginable; it was like believing that a round of Candy Land will turn everything into lollipops and marshmallows. Don’t get me wrong. Crafts can be an art form that can reflect one’s spirits and identity, and, yes, they can even bring a little happiness. Clearly, that was the message the writer wanted to convey with much success—perhaps too much success.

The book was filled with flawed and diverse characters that can annoy you at times but you can definitely relate to. To put it better, they all intertwined together like colored thread with loose ends and tight knots.

Honestly, the story didn’t get good for me until about 2/3 of the way when the “truth” comes out on everyone. The drama was so flavorful and exciting that I couldn’t sit still for the most part.

Ultimately, the characters had to find their true “crafter” to see who they really wanted to be, and I think it all came together pretty well in the end.