Friday, September 19, 2014

Review Me Twice: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Y'all know how Cassy and I feel about YA fiction in general. (If you don't: favorable.) So for me to say that this is great YA fiction is quite a thing.

It gets bonus points for passing the Bechdel test so hard, and also for being a widely banned/challenged book.

The title and cover explain the plot pretty well: one high school girl wants to kick the ass of another high school girl. The book touches on issues that a diverse audience can identify with: being a go-getter and being the go-getter's friend; hiding your sexuality in an unfriendly environment; being the bully and being the bullied; having a parent who can't spend as much time with you as you might want because they have to work; moving to a new neighborhood and new school; being smarter than your peers and therefore being bored in class; public humiliation hosted online... I'm sure I'm missing at least a dozen other situations dealt with openly and honestly (and non-patronizingly) in this book.

I think it's really hard to be a "problem novel" without coming off as super condescending.  Mostly because I believe that a lot of adults just genuinely don't really get (or care to get) what teens are going through and so the condescension happens.  There are, of course, exceptions to the rule.

This is most definitely one of those exceptions.

I think bullying is one of THE hardest topics to approach because so many adults just. don't. get it.  Bullying isn't just picking on a kid.  It's demoralizing a kid.  It's making a kid feel like they're just not worth it.  It's finding the absolute worst ways that you can insult that kid to make that kid feel like they're not a person anymore, to make that kid feel like they're not themselves anymore.

Bullying leads to suicides, it leads to fights, aggression, drop-outs, drinking and drugs.  A lot of which could be avoided if you would stop telling kids things like, "it's just a phase" or "it won't matter when you're older."  It matters now.

I love this book because the characters in it are real.  The bullying in it is real.  The conflict that Piddy feels in it (if I tell, she's just going to keep beating me up, but if I don't tell, I can't go back to school) is SO REAL.  That's the constant struggle that kids deal with.

And I like that the solution, is also real.  It's not perfect, and it isn't punishing who you want, but unfortunately, that's how it happens, and it's INFURIATING, but there's little that can be done.

I loved this book, and I think this is a book that every kid should be made to read before they enter middle school.  And then again, before High School, just to remind them.

No comments:

Post a Comment