Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The Quince Project

Parra, Jessica. The Quince Project
May 28, 2024 by Wednesday Books
ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central

Castillo Torres is bound and determined to earn her Happily Ever After; going to college to study event planning after an internship with the famous Mandy Whitmore. She's planned lots of things; events at school, and some parties, after her older sister Po's quinceañera ended in disaster. Of course, part of the reason for the disaster was that their mother had recently passed away. This has had a huge effect on her family; Po is drifting through her last year in high school, working at a restaurant, and not doing the college planning that Cas would like her to, their Dad is working a lot and playing video games when he is home, instead of cooking dinner and talking to the girls, and Cas has thrown herself into her party planning and her future. She's worried about the internship, but when she and Po are at DisneyWorld (which was their mother's favorite place), they run into prominent social media influencer Paulina. Cas hints that she is actually an intern with Mandy already, and manages to get Paulina to hire her to plan her deconstructed quinceañera. Po has a huge crush on Paulina, so is glad to help her sister out. When Cas meets cute lifeguard Javier, she also lets him believe she is working with Mandy, and he gets roped into being the chambelán. Paulina has quite the vision for her celebration, including the fact that it's not actually going to be a party; it's all about posting the planning on her social media! Desperate to have the party on her resume, Cas goes along with it, planning dances with light sabers and working on unusual clothing choices. Her relationship with Javier gets closer and closer, and the two eventually share a kiss... and manage to knock over an ice sculpture. Party planning in not easy, but Cas sees it as a way to give everyone the happy ending that she doesn't feel her mother got. When she eventually gets an interview with Mandy, she gets the internship, but this means that Paulina and Javier find out that she lied to them. After an emotional argument with Po, Cas sees some problems with the way she has dealt with her mother's death. Will she be able to keep her internship, reconcile with Javier, get Po off to college, and help her family heal?

Cas' desire to go to college in order to study event planning was good to see, although I'm not entirely sure that having an internship or a huge social media presence would really be necessary. She is not only building her own resume, but trying to get Po to work on her own. Still, this is better to see than high school students who have no plans at all! Even though Cas is very driven, she does have a very sweet relationship with Javier, and their ups and downs are easily evened out. 

There are lots of good details about the fictional Mateo Beach High School, and fans of Disney and Star Wars will appreciate all of the shout outs. Readers who are fascinated with social media will wish that they could follow Paulinaland.

It was good to see that even though the characters in the book were over 15, this book would be suitable for readers younger than that age who are perhaps looking forward to their own quinceañera and want a taste of all of the drama and pagentry that goes along with this milestone celebration. There are some excellent books from the point of view of the celebrant, like Osa's Cuba 15, Greene's Chasing the Jaguar, Fajardo's Miss Quinces, and Adler's Sweet 15,  but also some books where younger characters have older relatives who are planning celebrations, like Lopez' Lucky Luna and Howard's Pugs and Kisses that give good details about all of the planning. 

This was more of a young adult length, and there was a lot of repetition. Cas spends a vast amount of time thinking about her mother's death, and we hear about the quinceañera disaster and Javier's lavendar scented shampoo a few too many times. I might but this for a high school library, but will pass for middle school. 

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment