Once Upon a Quinceanera, by Julia Alvarez

Two and a half stars, read July/August 2014. Once Upon a Quinceanera was a mixed bag for me: interesting but slightly disappointing, until I got to the end, which pissed me off. The concept is great; there‚Äôs so much material for discussion, and the tradition is an intriguing one to learn about. I enjoyed the…

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

Four stars, read June/July 2014. This was good. Really good. Be prepared for difficult descriptions of violence under the Trujillo dictatorship, and also for some Spanish phrases that aren’t translated. (If I’d been reading the hard copy I would have looked them up, but I couldn’t because I was listening in my car, which drove…