Once Upon a Quinceanera by Julia Alvarez
Coming of Age in the USA

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Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a “phenomenal, indispensable” (USA Today) exploration of the Latina “sweet fifteen” celebration, by the bestselling author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of Butterflies

The quinceañera, a celebration of a Latina girl’s fifteenth birthday, has become a uniquely American trend. This lavish party with ball gowns, multi-tiered cakes, limousines, and extravagant meals is often as costly as a prom or a wedding. But many Latina girls feel entitled to this rite of passage, marking a girl’s entrance into womanhood, and expect no expense to be spared, even in working-class families. Acclaimed author Julia Alvarez explores the history and cultural significance of the “quince” in the United States, and the consequences of treating teens like princesses. Through her observations of a quince in Queens, interviews with other quince girls, and the memories of her own experience as a young immigrant, Alvarez presents a thoughtful and entertaining portrait of a rapidly growing multicultural phenomenon, and passionately emphasizes the importance of celebrating Latina womanhood.


About Julia Alvarez

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Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, two books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eight books for children and young adults. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature in 2007 from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the 2002 Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the2000 Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library's 1996 program "The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez." A writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, Alvarez and her husband, Bill Eichner, established Alta Gracia, an organic coffee farm-literacy arts center, in her homeland, the Dominican Republic.
Published August 2, 2007 by Plume. 275 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Parenting & Relationships, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Once Upon a Quinceanera

Book Reporter

Award-winning novelist Julia Alvarez has turned her gift for human analysis toward some very real young people in ONCE UPON A QUINCEANERA, a probing and utterly readable look into the tradition of the "quinceanera," the coming-of-age party celebrated by Latina women around the globe.

Jul 29 2008 | Read Full Review of Once Upon a Quinceanera: Comi...

Entertainment Weekly

Once Upon a Quinceanera (2007) In Once Upon a Quinceañera , Julia Alvarez bolsters her look at the quinceañera — a coming-of-age celebration for Latina girls when they turn 15… 2007-08-02 Julia Alvarez ...

Aug 06 2007 | Read Full Review of Once Upon a Quinceanera: Comi...

A Patchwork of Books

My enemies eatmeats & vegetables at tablesin white houses where candles blaze, castshadows of crosses, & flowers.They wear ball gowns & suits & ringsto talk of war in neat & folded languagesthat will not stain their formal dinner clothesor tousle their hair.

Oct 26 2014 | Read Full Review of Once Upon a Quinceanera: Comi...

A Patchwork of Books

& even inthat quick departure as the life rushes on,headlong or backwards, there must, mustbe some singing as the hand waves “be well”to its other hand, goodbye;& the ear belongs to the field now.& we cannot separate the roof from the heartfrom the trees that were there, standing.& so it is, ...

Jul 18 2014 | Read Full Review of Once Upon a Quinceanera: Comi...

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