Rina's Family Secret

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A Puerto Rican teenager describes her family's life with her abusive stepfather in alternating chapters with the story of the counselor who is trying to help them.

A Puerto Rican teenager describes her family's life with her abusive stepfather in alternating chapters with the story of the counselor who is trying to help them.

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Rina's Family Secret

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A Puerto Rican teenager describes her family's life with her abusive stepfather in alternating chapters with the story of the counselor who is trying to help them.

A Puerto Rican teenager describes her family's life with her abusive stepfather in alternating chapters with the story of the counselor who is trying to help them.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Heidi Green
After her stepfather attacks her mother with a knife, Rina withdraws from everyone. She won't admit how bad the situation is and she believes her mother's assurances that she will press charges. When Rina comes home from school, however, and finds her stepfather there as though nothing had ever happened, she leaves to stay with her grandmother. That provides little relief; Rina's grandmother is convinced that her parents' problems are her mother's fault and listening to the old woman's comments drives Rina further into despair. She worries about her brother and sister and fumes about her mother's inaction. She keeps her situation hidden from friends until the situation gets so bad she can't deny it anymore. Finally, with the help of a caring guidance counselor, Rina finds a way to deal with it all. This fourth book in the "Roosevelt High School" series is a gripping tale of family and salvation.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-The oldest of three children, Rina Morales lives with her mother and stepfather. When sober, Jose Morales is a loving and involved father figure. Drunk, however, he engages in acts of increasing violence toward Rina's mother and then toward her. Rina experiences the mixed emotions of anger and confusion; she is concerned for her mother and younger siblings and she cannot comprehend why her mother will not seek the appropriate restraining orders. The story is told from two perspectives: Rina's as well as that of Sandra Martinez, a counselor who has experienced similar problems with an alcoholic father. Rina's anger escalates to the extent that it spills over into all aspects of her life. The loyalty of friends and her counselor prevail, however, and she and Sandra are able to convince Rina's mother to take her children to a women's shelter where she is able to gain confidence and envision a future for herself. Velasquez touches on many social issues including teenage drinking, sex, and alcoholism. She writes convincingly of the teen's initial reluctance to reveal herself to members of a support group. However, the inclusion of untranslated Spanish terms is frustrating and the relative ease of the dissipation of Rina's anger is implausible given its intensity. Nevertheless, Velasquez accurately portrays the destructive cycle of domestic violence as well as the potential roles of counseling and social services in solving what may seem like insurmountable problems.-Sylvia V. Meisner, Allen Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Kirkus Reviews
In this entry in the Roosevelt High School series, Rina Morales lives with her younger sister and brother, her mother, and her stepfather, Jos‚, who is slowly destroying the family with his verbal and physical abuse of his wife. After one particularly ugly incident that leaves her mother hospitalized with stab wounds, Rina goes to stay with her grandmother. Her school friends know that Rina has a problem, but only one of them knows how to help her: Tommy, who was able to come to terms with his homosexuality, convinces Rina to talk to a professional counselor, Ms. Mart¡nez. Rina realizes that her mother needs to break the pattern of domestic violence, and that help is available at a local women's shelter. Rina and Ms. Mart¡nez share narrative duties, and when the older woman takes over, the book is plunged into soggy bibliotherapy. Rina's chapters, however, are informative and believable enough to aid readers in similar situations, and well-written enough to entertain and enlist the compassion of those who aren't. (Fiction. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558852334
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Series: Roosevelt High School Series Bks.
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 11, 2011

    Decent contemporary realistic fiction young-adult book

    I bought this book for a Literature for Adolescents course. In that course I surveyed contemporary realistic fiction in young adult books. This book does present the realistic yet destructive cycle of domestic violence. Apart from that, some of the situations Rina goes through include drinking, uncontrolled anger, running away from home, emotional problems, among others. The point of view of the story is mostly from Rina's but later on another character pops in, Mrs. Martinez, who gives us another look into Rina's life.

    The main conflicts are portrayed in a believable manner. However, I think the way the resolution was presented may not seem as believable. The potential solutions that the story shows seem too rushed especially if we take into account the magnitude of the domestic violence and the variety of problems presented.

    All in all, I think there are better young adult books out there since I believe the resolution to be an important part of these kind of stories. However, this one presents a different perspective, as well as Puerto Rican family (which is very uncommon), and the issues are presented realistically.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2003

    Young Adult Series

    I thought that this book was very good. This book would hit home for a lot of teenagers. Children need to read something that they can relate to and this book does that. Rina's dad is an alcoholic. When he is drunk he beats Rina's mom. A lot of kids in today's society have come from broken homes and this would be a book that would draw them in. I also liked this book because it gave a glossary of Spanish terms in the back because they talk sometimes in Spanish throughout the book. I really did not dislike anything in this book. I would totally recommend this book to any young adult.

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