Sarafina Garcia likes to think she has a pretty normal life. She has a loving mother who provides for her every need, a nice house with room for the two of them, she gets good grades in school and has so many aspirations for the future. Everything changes, however, once Sarafina is given an assignment to write about her family history: the one thing her mother will never speak of. As Sarafina works to uncover the truth hidden between all the secrets and lies, she soon begins to discover who she is and what she means to the people around her. With her mother still uncooperative, Sarafina must explore her heritage by herself, finding out where she came from and what that means for the future. In this short, engaging novel, prepare to fall in love with Sarafina, her mother, and the many other endearing characters as Sarafina learns just what is means to be loved and be part of a true family.
When I first received this novel, my initial reaction was: “Wow, this is short!” Because of that, I was a little hesitant to read it. However, this book blew away my expectations, giving me heart, humor, and discovery, all rolled up into one small, neat, little package. Becky Villareal, the author, did a great job portraying the initial feelings and desires of each character.
However, I felt that the character and plot development was not fully developed. By the end, I was still wondering about each character. Though I knew their feelings and desires, none of the characters really stood out as overly dynamic to me. The plot was also very rushed, just because of how short the book was. Because of that, I was surprised that there was as much detail as there was. Villareal did a good job in that area.
I would have wished, however, that the author touched more on each life event. The characters built strong relationships with each other within a page, which made the character interactions seem a bit superficial. Also, the uncomplicated, simplistic plot didn’t quite seem to match the deep, mature themes that this book provided.
Overall, I did enjoy this simple, short, easy-to-follow book. The author had great initial character introductions and an interesting element of self-discovery and family values that made up for the couple of rough edges in other aspects of the book.
In general, this is a very entertaining and worthwhile read.