By Jo Ann Hernandez
Apolonia Flores doesn't much like her name. However, her father takes pride in telling people where her name came from: "It's the girl form of Apollo. He was the god of the sun. Get it? It's my way of calling you a sunflower."
Parents! What can a teen do with them? Thankfully, everyone else calls her Lina. Yet, Lina's name is symbolic of her relationship with her out-of-touch father.
Confetti Girl is a beautiful story of a middle-school-age girl whose mother died the previous year and needs her father to communicate with her. Lina's father, in his grief, has immersed himself in books and so she struggles to reach him behind the hardcover barriers he places between the two of them.
Yet, Lina's changing relationship with her father isn't the only sign of change in the young girl's life. Lina's best friend Vanessa, who lives with her divorced mother across the street, starts to spend less time with Lina after discovering boys.
However, it isn't long before Lina finds herself liking a boy and grappling with old-fashioned insecurities -- "Does he like me?," "Doesn't he like me?," "How do I know?" -- that a mother could have helped her understand.
The book's author, Diana LÃ³pez, deals with the issue of losing a parent by examining that loss through both death and divorce.
The plot of this story is the generational struggle most teens experience with their parents when trying to come to an understanding of what the other needs.
Though the story deals with sad issues, the writing is upbeat and the ending is hilarious and would make any therapist proud.
LÃ³pez did a sensational job of presenting Lina in her environment with everyday teen angst and peculiarities. For example, the title of the book refers to young Lina's love for socks and how she chooses which socks to wear depending on how lucky they make her feel that day.
At the same time, LÃ³pez fully embraces the Latino culture through character dialogue of traditional Latino customs, along with, inserting an occasional word in Spanish in the text.
LÃ³pez portrayed people with real hurts, real joys and real loves -- just like everyone else in the world.
It's a book that is an enjoyable read.
By Jo Ann Hernandez is assistant Bookshelf editor and author of the award-winning "White Bread Competition" and "The Throwaway Piece," as well as, creator and publisher of BronzeWord Latino Authors web site.