Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno [in Booklist]
Despite calling the small coastal community of Port Coral ‘home,’ Rosa has always avoided the water. She – and maybe the rest of the town – believes she’s been cursed by tragedy, since both her grandfather and father drowned as young men. Raised mostly by her Cuban grandmother while her mother followed her high-demand art installations around the world, Rosa, too, is ready to venture out, leaning toward choosing a college for potential access to Cuba-based study programs.
But changes are coming – the threat of developers at the local harbor, the reappearance of “Mr. Tall, Dark, and Mad” Alex Aquino, the possible return of Rosa’s mother, the straining (again) of U.S./Cuban relations – and nothing about Rosa’s future can be certain.
Narrator Almarie Guerra effortlessly switches between English and Spanish in assuming the titular Rosa Santos, a Southern Florida teen who longs for closer ties with her Cuban heritage. Guerra showcases an easy agility, adopting accents and decades, releasing emotions and practicing restraint, augmenting Cuban Colombian American Nina Moreno’s already well-told debut with depth and delight.
Readers: Young Adult