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Cubanita    by Gaby Triana order for
by Gaby Triana
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Unlike most of her friends who prefer to go to college in Florida to be near family, Isabella Diaz wants to go out-of–state to the University of Michigan where she can be her own person. She even ditches her long-time boyfriend so there'll be no problems when the time comes to leave. Well, there are always problems with Mami who doesn't want her to grow-up, leave home, or forget she is Cuban, but if things go according to plan Isa will have made her escape in August.

Isa loves her mami, but she doesn't want to be like her. Mami's memories of Cuba are overpowering to Miami-born Isabella. Isa is American. Cuba is Mami's past, not her own.

Almost immediately Isa's summer plans go awry. An older man catches her attention and she dives headlong into a summer romance, forgetting her desire to be free. She brushes off advice from friends and family about his intentions, sure she can handle him.

Meanwhile Isa is constantly clashing with Mami who is unusually tense and prickly. Will Isa's plans change when she discovers the reason for Mami's agitation? Before summer is over, Isa is grateful to have both her Cuban and American heritage to guide her as she makes decisions that will effect both present and her future.

Triana handles some serious problems humorously, while giving the reader a glimpse of tropical Miami and Cuban culture.

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