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It seems like Piddy Sanchez has unwillingly made an enemy of Yaqui Delgado, one of the toughest girls at Daniel Jones High, for reasons that Piddy still doesn’t understand. Did she accidentally look at Yaqui’s boyfriend? Does she really shake her hips too much when she walks? Piddy doesn’t really take Yaqui’s threat seriously at first – she’s too busy missing her best friend, trying to get good grades, and thinking about the father she’s never met. However, when Yaqui and her friends start messing with Piddy, staying out of their way becomes Piddy’s main goal in life. Her grades start to suffer, her relationship with her mom becomes more strained, and Piddy starts to become someone that she doesn’t recognize.

This book is wonderful, and difficult, and emotionally draining. Piddy’s life is not easy, even before Yaqui decides that Piddy is stuck up and needs a beat down. Her mother has high standards for Piddy, but is not at all forthcoming about Piddy’s father or much of her life. Piddy only has one good friend, who moves away to the suburbs, leaving Piddy to cope with starting a new school by herself. Piddy has a small support system, especially in her mother’s best friend, Lila. However, no one can protect Piddy from Yaqui Delgado and the fear that Piddy experiences when she becomes the prey of this powerful schoolyard bully. Why is this book difficult? One reason is because it’s so well written. Piddy’s fear seeps through the pages and into your head as you read. Meg Medina has created a fully-realized character in Piddy Sanchez, and the women who surround her, her mother and Lila, are surprisingly well-rounded as well. As Piddy faces many difficult and scary decisions about her life and her future, you will also share her pain, her confusion, and her hope for a better life.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, anyone at all. Meg Medina has written a book that every teen should read, regardless of whether you’ve ever been a victim of bullying or harassment. This book is funny, touching, scary, and, most importantly, very realistic.

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