"I scope out this block I've always called home." Pg 3
"I close my eyes and let myself find in music what I've always searched for: a way away" pg 96
Comic strip made by Sitlali Santamaria
At the start of the book, we get to know about Xiomara's community while she is stoop-sitting. She talks about the people talking about her body image and talks about her involvement in church. Xiomara introduces her mother and father and opens up about her image and her identity. This will play a role throughout the book.
"People watch. They listen, and when I'm done saying a poem I've practiced in my mirror, they clap. And it sounds so loud that I want to cover my ears, cover my face." Page 279
In this scene, Xiomara had her first kiss. She has been spending time with Aman. They have connected by having similar music tastes and listening to music together at the smoke park. Aman makes Xiomara happy and forgets her worries. Aman encourages Xiomara for what she wants. Hanging out with Aman will later result in the climax of the story.
Xiomara has been caught kissing Aman by her mother. Mami came home enraged. Mami has a devotion to religion and was taught to be devout in an abusive way. She throws Xiomara in front of the Virgin Mary, puts rice on the floor, forces Xiomara to kneel on rice and repent. This is a shocking and intense scene which makes it the climax.
"I am no ant. Only sharply torn. Something broken. In my mother's hand." Page 202
Xiomara is finally doing something she loves to do and that is poetry. Xiomara is still in trouble at this moment, but there's less guilt, and was able to receive freedom back. Xiomara is able to attend a poetry bash with her friend Caridad and her brother Twin. Xiomara was surprised that they signed her up for a poetry bash and her performance was astounding.
Toward the end of the book, Mami and Papi invited Xiomara's friends, Ms. Galiano, and father Sean over to their house to celebrate. Xiomara's family comes together especially her parents finally opening up. This ending is a happy ending, this is what Xiomara needed the most. There was character development and challenges were faced. This is a well-written book.