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Down to the Bone

by Mayra Lazara Dole

Published by HarperTeen / HarperCollins, 2008
367 pages
ISBN: 9780060843106

Age 14 and older

Laura and Marlena, both sixteen, have kept their love a secret for two years out of necessity. They have both witnessed a lot of homophobia in the Miami Latino community where lesbians are derisively referred to as tortilleras. Laura fears rejection from her traditional Cuban American mother, and Marlena, from her extended Puerto Rican family, should anyone learn about the joy they feel both physically and emotionally in being together. Their fears turn out to be to be well founded when Sister Asunción intercepts a love letter from Marlena to Laura in her Catholic school classroom; Laura is kicked out of school and home, and Marlena is sent back to Puerto Rico to be married off to a man. Luckily Laura is taken in by her best friend, Soli, and her mother, Viva, and they become her new family as she struggles to put her life back together. Through all her adversity, Laura maintains her sense of humor and an optimistic outlook on life. She’s a survivor who is determined to be happy, even if it means making those she cares about unhappy. Mayra Lazara Dole’s breezy style and wry dialog offer a fresh new voice in both GLBTQ and Latino literature for teens.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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