Quinceañera Stories

The famed quinceañera celebration, similar to a "Sweet 16," is a rite of passage for young Latina women. These books tell the stories of girls who are planning (or avoiding) their big day and also explore the meaning of what the ritual has become in the United States today. Recommended for grades 7-12.

Amor and Summer Secrets

Age Level: 14-16

Product Description: For fifteen-year-old Mariana Ruiz, it's not so much an unexpected vacation as a literal "guilt trip" — her father's way of atoning for ignoring his Puerto Rican roots. The heat is merciless, the food is spicy, and her great aunt and uncle's mountain house teems with relatives, only one of whom — her distant cousin Lilly — speaks English. Bored, and hoping to make up for missing her best friend's star-studded Sweet 16, Mariana offers to help in the planning of Lilly's quinceañera.

Chasing the Jaguar: A Martika Galvez Mystery

Age Level: 12-14

Martika begins having strange dreams about jungles and jaguars just before her quinceañera. Her mother brings her to Tía Tellin — the neighborhood bruja, or witch, to help sort out what she sees. Martika is astonished to learn that Tía Tellin is her great aunt and that they are both descended from a long line of Mayan healers, whose powers include psychic divination. When the daughter of her mother's client is kidnapped, Martika's visions help guide the search for the missing girl. — Booklist

Cuba 15

By: Nancy Osa
Age Level: 12-14

Every girl wants to celebrate her quinceañera, or 15th birthday, right? Not necessarily, as half-Cuban, half-Polish Violet can barely speak Spanish. As the plans move forward, Violet comes to terms with her heritage in this warm and funny novel.

Estrella's Quinceañera

Age Level: 12-14

For as long as Estrella Alvarez can remember, her mother has been planning to throw her an elaborate quinceañera for her fifteenth birthday — complete with a mariachi band, cheesy decorations, and a hideous dress. Estrella has other things on her mind, like dating Speedy. Does it matter that her new friends — and her parents — would never approve of a guy from el barrio? Estrella is almost fifteen and wants to start making her own decisions. But is she ready to find out who she is — and who she really wants to be?

Illegal

Age Level: 14-16

Product Description: "A promise that we would be together on my fifteenth birthday…" Instead, Nora is on a desperate journey far away from home. When her father leaves their beloved Mexico in search of work, Nora stays behind. When his letters and money stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must look for him in Texas. After a frightening experience crossing the border, the two are all alone in a strange place. Now, Nora must find the strength to survive while aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and her precious quinceañera.

Once Upon a Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA

Age Level: 16-18

Product Description: The quinceañera, a celebration of a Latina girl's fifteenth birthday, has become a uniquely American trend. Acclaimed author Julia Alvarez explores the history and cultural significance of the "quince" in the United States, and the consequences of treating teens like princesses.

Sweet 15

Age Level: 14-16

"Destiny Lozada's fifteenth birthday is approaching, and Mami is set on a traditional quinceañera ceremony. However, Destiny's fiery, feminist older sister, America, is against the whole thing, and Papi is trying to stay out of it. Meanwhile, Destiny worries about finding a "caballero," the traditional male escort; starting high school; and her Puerto Rican-American family's financial struggles. With pressure mounting, Destiny seeks escape in skateboarding and watching TV.