Summary and book reviews of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

by Meg Medina

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2013, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2014, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp

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About this Book

Book Summary

In Meg Medina's compelling new novel, a Latina teen is targeted by a bully at her new school - and must discover resources she never knew she had.

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.

Chapter 1

"Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass."

A kid named Vanesa tells me this in the morning before school. She springs out with no warning and blocks my way, her textbook held at her chest like a shield. She's tall like me and caramel. I've seen her in the lunchroom, I think. Or maybe just in the halls. It's hard to remember.

Then, just like that, Vanesa disappears into the swell of bodies all around.

Wait, I want to tell her as she's swallowed up. Who is Yaqui Delgado?But instead, I stand there blinking as kids jostle for the doors. The bell has rung, but I'm not sure if it's only the warning or if I'm late for first period. Not that it matters. I've been at this school for five weeks, and Mr. Fink hasn't remembered to take attendance once. A girl near his desk just sort of scans the room and marks who's out.

"Move, idiot!" somebody grunts, and I follow the crowd inside.


It's Darlene Jackson who explains the ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass is a title that grabs your attention. What makes it so fitting for this novel?
  2. At Piddy's new high school, kids tend to eat lunch with their own kind — blacks with blacks, Latinas with Latinas, and nerds with nerds. Does this also happen at your school? If so, why? Why is there often so little diversity in social groups?
  3. On the surface, Lila and Piddy's mother seem like polar opposites, but look deeper. What are the significant differences between the two women? What are the abiding similarities? Why does Piddy need them both?
  4. "She thinks we get a bad rap as Latinos," Piddy says about her mother, "which she's always trying to undo by being extra quiet and polite all the time" (...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The conclusion of this rough, yet heartfelt story feels brutally real. There is no easy answer. Piddy has gone to war and bears the scars to prove it. But, she also knows more about herself. And she knows that life - like dancing - requires strength, grace and risks. She's ready to step out and to set her own rhythm, in time with the beat of her heart.   (Reviewed by Sarah Tomp).

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Media Reviews

Teenreads.com

In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Starred Review. Medina emphasizes Piddy’s acute sense of isolation without overplaying it, and she absolutely respects the totality of Piddy’s quandary...The message here is that tough and unfair stuff is really tough and unfair, but it’s also survivable; that’s a takeaway that readers will recognize as both true and valuable.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A nuanced, heart-wrenching and ultimately empowering story about bullying....more than just a problem novel, this book sheds light on a serious issue without ever losing sight of its craft.

The Horn Book

Starred Review. Yaqui may think she’s tough, but it’s Piddy and some of the other female characters, namely Piddy’s mother and her mother’s flamboyant best friend Lila, who make more lasting impressions. Medina’s setting stands out as well...Teens will identify with Piddy’s struggle.

Author Blurb James Howe
A powerful read! As tough and honest as its title, this novel takes an unflinching look at the unjust and cruel consequences of bullying. The story of Piddy Sanchez's transformation is full of the kind of truth teen readers will instantly recognize. I highly recommend it.

Author Blurb Jo Knowles, Author of See You at Harry's
I cried and cheered for Piddy in equal measure. Medina perfectly captures the devastating impact of bullying - and the powerful influence of kindness in recovery. I love this book and miss Piddy already!

Author Blurb Carrie Jones, Author of the Need series and co-editor of Dear Bully
Poignant, powerful, pull-your-heart-apart sad, snort-out-your-nose funny - a nuanced, honest telling of how courage and choice can triumph over the hell of being bullied.

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Beyond the Book

Popular Latin Dances

I thought the references to Latin dances woven throughout Meg Medina's Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass were an effective way to illustrate Piddy's struggles with understanding her own physicality as well her place as an individual within her community. Besides the cultural connotations, dance can be a powerful way to express emotion kinesthetically.

Salsa dancing As Salsa dancing is riding a wave of current popularity, I was curious about the various dances and music styles referred to in this novel. Salsa is an all-inclusive term referring to several types of dances with roots in the Caribbean, especially Cuba and Puerto Rico, as well as Latin and North America. The nickname is fitting as it also refers to the spicy sauce made from several ...

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