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Laura Amores is a tortillera--slang for "lesbian" in Miami's Cuban-American social scene, and a term either of endearment or a slur, depending on who is using it. But once Laura's secret is out, a tortillera is all Laura seems to be--to her mother, the nuns at her Catholic school and even some friends. Laura is thrown out of school and even from her house: "I'm sorry, Laura, but I can't continue loving you if you stay gay," Mami says as she literally pushes her daughter out the door. Luckily, Laura meets "bois" who introduce her to Miami's Cuban gay scene, and her best friend shares her home and family, unconditionally. Laura remains reluctant to accept her gay identity, however, and her exploration of possible relationships--with a boi, a "delicious" young woman and a boy she dates in hope of restoring herself to her mother's good graces--form the main arc of this honest, intense and at times moving romance. Using Spanish colloquialisms and slang, this debut author pulls off the tricky task of dialect in a manner that feels authentic. As Dole tackles a tough and important topic, her protagonist will win over a range of teen audiences, gay and straight. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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*Starred Review* After being expelled from her Catholic school for being lesbian, Lauri, 17, is thrown out by her Cuban mom for being abnormal. Worst of all, Lauri's beloved partner, Marlena, leaves and does her family's bidding by marrying a man. Lauri gets a job and finds a home with her straight, black friend, Soli, and she begins to wonder if she can fall in love with a guy and regain her family and acceptance. At the same time she has her own prejudices to overcome. The dialogue is fast and funny in this debut novel, which is set in Miami's Cuban American community. Laura's first-person, present-tense narrative shows and tells the farce and the sorrow at home, and teens will recognize some of the traditional prejudices, as well as the joy of friendship and the happiness of real love (my smile barely fits in my face). Supportive precisely because it is laugh-out-loud irreverent (in one hilarious scene Laura and Soli mock their tacky quinces with their pink-ruffled gowns), this breakthrough novel is sure to be welcomed.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2008 Booklist