The Other Half of Happy Blog Tour

THE OTHER HALF

OF HAPPY
by

Rebecca Balcárcel

Contemporary / Middle Grade / Multi-cultural Family
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Date of Publication: August 20, 2019
Number of Pages: 332

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Quijana is a girl in pieces. 
 
One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana’s Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn’t know more about her family’s heritage. 
 
One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she’s found true friends. But she can’t help the growing feelings she has for Jayden. 
 
One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what’s going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother. 
 
In the course of this immersive and beautifully written novel, Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole. 
 
This lyrical debut from Rebecca Balcárcel is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.

PRAISE FOR THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY:

 
“Seriously, I have never felt so seen in a book.” —Sophia Jimenez of @LatinxinPub
 

“Balcárcel’s well-rounded characters, complex friendships, and nuanced family dynamics will resonate with many readers. This is a title that will remain relevant long past its publication date. A must-have for all library collections.” — School Library Journal starred review

“With poetic, flowing prose that sometimes feels more like a song and characters so convincing that they seem real, Balcárcel’s stunning debut depicts the struggles of being raised with two cultures and the challenges of not being “authentic” enough—in this case, “not Guatemalan enough” or “not American enough.” A lovely, moving, and realistic view of the struggles and insecurities—as well as the beauty—that comes from being bicultural.” — Booklist starred review

“One of the best and most compassionate depictions of autism I have ever read in fiction.” — Latinas Leyendo

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Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in those are unfinished copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

The engaging and awe-inspiring novel transports you into the world of Quijana, a half Guatemalan and half American tween. Quijana faces continual adversities as she works to discover her true identity.

The novel begins with Quijana preparing for her first day of seventh grade in a new school. She is obsessing over the mistakes of her past, trying to wrangle the constant chaos of her household, and spending time with her family. Her first day of seventh grade does not go as plan and she must learn the dynamics of her new school. Quijana must learn to face obstacles that are beyond her years while trying to find her identity and her place in her family. She is navigating her new environment, dissecting a potential crush, focusing on her younger brother, and continue to connect her Abuelita. As her home life takes a more challenging turn will she be able to handle it all?

The Other Half of Happy tackles the challenge of creating a diverse novel that allows the reader to understand the dynamics of the culture that influenced it. The moment I opened this book I was completely entranced in the story. I was able to feel a personal connection with the main character and the challenges she faced with her family. This novel felt more like a middle grade coming of age story that focused on a common challenge faced by biracial youth. It is evident the author drew from personal experiences to write this novel or did extensive research. The author took the time to insert Spanish dialogue and highlight a common frustration and disconnect in multicultural households. This novel is engaging, informative, and powerful. The characters evolved from chapter to chapter as the storyline developed. I even cried toward the ending after the plot started to unfold.

I truly commend the author for taking the time to shed light on common obstacles faced by multilingual and multicultural households in America. Quinjana is developed as a character that is both relatable and responsible. The author provides scenes that share commonalities with the adversities faced by youth today. The author provides a first-hand look at the development of the main character as we experience her frustrations, worry, and grief.

If you’re in the mood for a realistic fiction novel then you’re in luck! This book fits soo many key character development points and has such an elaborate storyline that it would be a great read for upper elementary and middle grades. I highly recommend this novel as it provides an opportunity for youth to read about challenges similar to their own. You won’t want to put this one down until you finish it!


 
 

Rebecca is a bi-cultural Latina who loves her autistic sons, her kitty, and serving the students of Tarrant County College as Associate Professor of English. She holds an MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars, where she was awarded the Jane Kenton Poetry Prize. THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY is her debut novel.

 
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THREE WINNERS EACH RECEIVE:
SIGNED COPY OF THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY 
BOOKMARK & STICKER!
NOVEMBER 5-15, 2019
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BONUS Post
11/6/19
Review
11/7/19
Excerpt
11/8/19
Review
11/9/19
Notable Quotable
11/10/19
Guest Post
11/11/19
Review
11/12/19
Scrapbook Page
11/13/19
Review
11/14/19
Review

 

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