Review of Wishbone

Wishbone
by Anna Garcia Schaper
High School    Piñata    317 pp.    g
5/20    Paper ed.  978-1-55885-894-7    $12.95

In dual timelines, Schaper presents a story of culture, love, and feminism that crosses generations. Pili is a Mexican American teen in 1970s Laredo, Texas. Pilar is her namesake and her sister’s granddaughter, living in present-day Houston. Both young women are strong-willed and talented. Pilar hopes to audition for the school play but feels discouraged because of low self-esteem and constant bullying; she is tormented because of her weight and becomes the subject of an embarrassing social media post. Pili eschews the expectations of her male-centric community and is especially wary of those traditions in light of her sister’s marriage to an aggressively macho man. The character development is layered, and the settings are fully realized. The conflict between family duty and individual hopes and dreams will resonate with young people. Questions of faith and religion are also woven throughout. Short chapters with alternating narrators balance the story’s pace, and spare writing and the revelation of long-held secrets make for a compelling tale, with an ultimately rewarding conclusion. The familial bonds, the protagonists’ lively personalities, the whip-smart humor, and the cultural touchstones should appeal to fans of Isabel Quintero’s Gabi, a Girl in Pieces.

From the September/October 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shelley M. Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz is reviews editor of School Library Journal.

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