Rummanah Aasi
Description: Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that's what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you're a boy with a boat. But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about.
   As her college decision looms, Rosa collides - literally - with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?

Review: Given the cover and the title, I expected Don't Date Rosa Santos to be your basic summery romantic comedy, but I was delightfully surprised to learn the story is so much more. Rosa Santos is Cuban American and has Cuba in her blood. Living in a seaside community in Southern Florida with her abuela, she knows only part of the family stories that tie her to Cuba where her ancestors lived, but not the actual country. Now that she is on her way to start college, Rosa's desire to learn more about her family roots, culture, and to Cuba has grown stronger and a source of tension between her mother and her grandmother. Both her mother and grandmother have experienced tragedies related to the sea, and they caution Rosa to stay away from the water at all costs.
  I adored Rosa who is a driven young woman with a set of plans. It was so refreshing to see her complete high school and attend community college to set her sights further. I loved how she had a plan set forth for her future as well as saving her local community  of a wide range of Latinx cultures from commercial builders. Most children of immigrants will see themselves in Rosa as wants to learn more about her roots. The relationship Rosa had with her mother, an artist who abandoned Rosa to travel the country, returns intermittently, and her abuela is complex and fascinating as each faced their own fears. The romance between Rosa and Alex, an attractive sailor who works by the docks, is incredibly sweet but it does not overwhelm the story. It was so nice to see that Alex is not the stereotypical Latinx male figure, but incredibly charming, sweet, and has a great knack for cooking. Don't Date Rosa Santos is a solid, own voices book in which the Latinx culture is celebrated and infused into a realistic fiction novel and the classic coming of age story. I love forward to reading more from this author.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language and scenes of underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: The Universal Laws of Marco by Carmen Rodriguez
1 Response
  1. It's nice to hear that this book is more than just a romance. I can see it appealing to many students.

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