Book: Gabi, A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Published October 2014 by Cinco Puntos Press|284 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library
Genre: YA Contemporary
Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy’s pregnancy, Sebastian’s coming out, the cute boys, her father’s meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn’t want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it’s important to wait until you’re married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, “Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas.” Eyes open, legs closed. That’s as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don’t mind it. I don’t necessarily agree with that whole wait until you’re married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can’t tell my mom that because she will think I’m bad. Or worse: trying to be White.
I really liked Gabi, A Girl In Pieces! I can’t believe it’s Quintero’s debut novel, because, for some reason, I thought that Quintero was a lot of other books out there.
I really liked Gabi’s story, and how it’s told through diary entries. Something about this book made me think of Princess Diaries, and I think they’re a good read alike for each other. Gabi’s honest, and she has to deal with so many things. I really felt for her, and I really liked her and there’s something about her that made me want to hug her. She’s also really funny, and I really wish that a book like this was out when I was in high school, because I am pretty sure teenage me would have LOVED it. I still really like it, though, and I think the thing I related to the most was how she sometimes felt insecure about how she looked (don’t we all, though?) and I can really relate to turning lobster red after being in the sun for a while.
I feel like Gabi is so aware of everything going on in her life- the diary format really gets her to reflect on things, and we really see her change over the course of a year. There’s something very sincere about Gabi and she does have her flaws, but I love that she’s flawed, and doesn’t try to be anyone other than herself.
I did want to talk about the cover! This is a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, and while I like that the cover is totally how Gabi sees herself, and that it’s a color version of the illustration we see in the book, that she draws for her zine. I can see people not picking up the book because of the cover, but if you can get past the cover, this really is a great book.
4 stars. I didn’t love it, but Gabi definitely has a unique voice!