Marisa is quick to anger and not the type to waste her time on wimpy boys, so it comes as a surprise to her that she falls for the geeky Rene. But sometimes love is like that, Marisa is discovering. And meanwhile, she is losing weight and improving her grade, discovering self-confidence in the barrio. The writing is heavy with Spanglish for atmosphere and features a glossary at the end to guide the reader.
Middle readers are far too often written in an awkward 3rd person narrative style that drives me nuts. This is a prime example of the style. The author (either intentionally or not) copies the disconnected style that one would expect from a 6th grader where dramatic events just pop up and fade away with little or no significance to the story. There is some character development, but it is sort of accidental. As a result, you could basically pick up this book at any point and start reading and be basically set. That doesn't speak very highly of Soto's ability to create a dramatic arch. A weak novel.