Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina is a riveting story that doesn't let you walk away until the last page is turned. New girl Piddy is the unfortunate target in the cross hairs of high school bully Yaqui. Survival stakes are on the table, so readers can expect raw tension, high school drama, and relatable, real-life ups and downs. You’ll laugh, cry, cringe, mourn and celebrate with each plot turn. Medina writes authentic, believable characters and handles this story of bullying in an absorbing way. She takes us places and forces us to look at things that make some people squirm. But beyond compelling entertainment, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass is also an important piece of modern literature. It could be shelved next to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and would also be enjoyed by the same readers of Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King.
We all know bullying is a hot button right now. The subject gets center stage on the talk show circuit, in the news and in schools across America. I applaud leaders for no longer brushing bullying aside as a rite of teenage passage. And I applaud Medina for not handling the topic in a preachy way, but instead as an experience from the point of view of the mark. It’s a book that will make readers think long after the story is over.
Every student in every grade at my daughter’s school had to read Dear Bully as one of their summer reading assignments. Ninth graders at my son’s school read Speak. It won’t be long until teachers and librarians start recommending Medina’s work. In the meantime with such an inviting title, teens will gladly pick up a copy of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass without ever being told to do so.
"One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is."
If you'd like to read more books featuring diversity in YA, please visit the Diversity in YA blog.