Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over [NOOK Book]

Overview

Sometimes the family you've lost can lead you to the family you need...

When Beatriz Sánchez-Milligan turned her back on her troubled sister, she ushered in a lifetime of regret. So when the niece Beatriz never knew she had appears on her doorstep--announcing that her mother has died--she can't help but see fourteen-year-old Celeste as a chance to redo the past . . . despite her own family's objections.
But ...
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Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over

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Overview

Sometimes the family you've lost can lead you to the family you need...

When Beatriz Sánchez-Milligan turned her back on her troubled sister, she ushered in a lifetime of regret. So when the niece Beatriz never knew she had appears on her doorstep--announcing that her mother has died--she can't help but see fourteen-year-old Celeste as a chance to redo the past . . . despite her own family's objections.
But Celeste is skittish around her new family. She can feel the tension radiating from her uncle and cousins and, despite her aunt's enthusiasm, is hesitant to share her dreams of the traditional quinceañera she and her mother had been planning. Overwhelmed, Celeste does what her mom did years ago: she vanishes. Terrified the past is repeating itself, Beatriz scrambles to uncover the mystery surrounding her sister's life and death?and build a future in which the niece she dearly loves is truly part of her family.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The second in a captivating series (following Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz) focusing not just on girls going through the traditional coming-of-age Quincean~era celebration, but on the mothers (and others) who love them, this volume follows 14-year-old Celeste Sanchez as she deals with the murder of her mother, a Mexican labor organizer, and a new home in America. Arriving at her Aunt Beatriz's San Antonio, Tex., home in time for Beatriz's 25th wedding anniversary party, Celeste meets her teenage cousins Carlos and Raul, but finds her Uncle Larry, a strict father with Irish roots, less welcoming; as his wife makes tentative plans to adopt Celeste, Larry fears she'll be an unpredictable handful like her mother. As Celeste and Beatriz reconnect, an investigative journalist from El Paso comes to San Antonio looking for Celeste, hoping to pass on a final gift from her mother. Emotionally profound, Acosta's joyous celebration of sisterhood, motherhood, friendship, and family is an insightful read. (July)
Mlive.com
"Looking for a novel that's sweet but not maudlin, layered but uncomplicated, and includes a good burst of flame now and then? Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over is one of those books, and it won't take long to read. That's because you won't want to put it down. Acosta has a way of getting inside her characters, so we come to know them like old friends and appreciate their emotions and thoughts. I loved how Acosta blended two cultures into one squabbling, scheming but loving family, and it was a treat to watch her plotline unfold with them."
espanol.news.yahoo.com/
"Es una historia bien contada, con momentos de enternecedora elocuencia, que promueve los valores tradicionales de la cultura latina.

A well-told story, with moments of touching eloquence, that promotes the traditional values of Latino culture."

Booklist
"Acosta perceptively delves into the turmoil in which this family finds itself by examining it from multiple viewpoints.... Celeste's quinceañera becomes the glue that holds this family together as she discovers the loving support group she never knew she had."
Examiner.com
"Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over is a harmoniously orchestrated vibrant celebration of family, particularly the biethnic, non-traditional families of today."
San Antonio Express
"A consummate researcher, Acosta has attended her share of quinceanera expos, but she's also done a good amount of digging on the subject of the murders of the women of Juarez. The subject emerges with a quiet dignity not always assigned to the memories of those victims, and a voice that all too often goes unnoticed, ignored or silenced. Acosta is a prolific journalist, and her efforts have paid off very early on in her burgeoning career as a novelist."
Deborah Donovan
Belinda Acosta's Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz delivers all its title promises and more: it's a book about damas of all ages, from teenage girls to the struggling mothers of those teenage girls; it's packed with drama so you don't want to stop reading; it's a novel that deeply and honestly tells the story of Ana Ruiz, her own coming of age as a woman and as a mother. Belinda Acosta is up to all of the challenges of such a rich panorama of characters and events. She's sassy, she's smart, she makes it look easy! But it takes a lot of hard work and a pile of talent to write such an engaging, touching book. A wonderful quinceañera of a novel!
Julia Alvarez, author of Once Upon a Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA and Return to Sender on Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz
Deborah Donovan - Julia Alvarez
"Belinda Acosta's Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz delivers all its title promises and more: it's a book about damas of all ages, from teenage girls to the struggling mothers of those teenage girls; it's packed with drama so you don't want to stop reading; it's a novel that deeply and honestly tells the story of Ana Ruiz, her own coming of age as a woman and as a mother. Belinda Acosta is up to all of the challenges of such a rich panorama of characters and events. She's sassy, she's smart, she makes it look easy! But it takes a lot of hard work and a pile of talent to write such an engaging, touching book. A wonderful quinceañera of a novel!"
The University of Texas ShelfLife@Texas
"[Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz] is a book that smartly and deftly explores questions of family relationships as well as cultural identity....Belinda [Acosta] seamlessly weaves Spanish and Spanglish into her prose, giving the novel a lively and authentic voice."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446565998
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/20/2010
  • Series: A Quinceañera Club Novel
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 706 KB

Meet the Author

Belinda Acosta

Belinda Acosta has written and published plays, short stories, and essays. As a journalist, her work has appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, The Austin Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, The San Antonio Current, and AlterNet. Her short story Tortilla Dough appeared in Saguaro, a publication of the University of Arizona in 1992. In 1993, she produced, directed and performed in a multi-media dance-theater performance of La Llorona. National exposure came in 1995 when she read her personal essay Gran Baile, on Latino USA - the Radio Journal of News and Culture, carried on National Public Radio. Acosta received a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from The University of Texas in 1997. She lives in Austin, Texas and is the TV and media columnist for The Austin Chronicle.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    terrific quinceanera coming of age family drama

    In San Antonio, fourteen year old Celeste Sanchez arrives at the home of her Aunt Beatriz Sanchez-Milligan as the older woman, her husband Larry and their teen children Carlos and Raul celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. Beatriz is in shock as she tells her Aunt Beatriz that her mom a Mexican labor organizer Perla died. Aunt Beatriz takes her niece into her home though Uncle Larry has doubts as wherever Perla went trouble followed.

    Beatriz ignores Larry's concerns of a chip off the old block and what that will do to their kids. She wants to adopt her niece and throw Celeste a quinceanera gala. Deep inside her gut, Beatriz feels guilt for failing to stay in touch with her sister and though caring for Perla's daughter is the right thing it does not abate her remorse. When El Paso reporter Josie Mendoza arrives with a final "present" for Celeste from her late mom, he implies to Beatriz her sister was murdered. Twenty-fives years of a strong marriage begins to shatter as Larry wants the teen out with his memory of his sister-in-law tainting his feelings; while Beatriz wants her niece as part of the family partly because of her memory of her sister tainting her feelings..

    The second quinceanera coming of age family drama (see Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz) is a terrific tale that centers on the characters; in this case mostly the niece and her aunt serving as a surrogate mom. The three Milligan males and Celeste's uncles (and their families) enhance the poignant passionate plot, but this is the bonding of three females as an aunt and niece grieve their loss yet also cement their love. The ending will leave readers with wet eyes.

    Harriet Klausner

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