Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2021 Sent by her mother to live with Abuela Lola in Barcelona, half-Filipino, half-Spanish Alba leaves New York feeling heartbroken, but in Barcelona, she finds a bright beginning with Abuela Lola and new friends and neighbors. By chance, Alba begins learning how to make bread at a local bakery with Toni, her mother’s childhood friend. Baking brings her calm and joy, and when the bakery is threatened with closing, she and her loved ones must work together to save the shop. And as Alba finally lets down her walls, she is able to be there for her mother, who has finally left Alba’s abusive father. As Guerrero explores the difficulties and heartbreak associated with an abusive family member, the emotions that define Alba at the beginning—fear, rejection, hopelessness—transform into strength, hope, and love. A cast of unique characters, beautiful surroundings, and delicious food will have readers wishing they were part of Alba’s world. A positive title about dealing with heartbreaking difficulties as well as the possibility of second chances and new beginnings. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2021 Gr 4–6—Twelve-year-old Alba feels discarded when her mother sends her across the ocean to live in Barcelona with the grandmother she hardly knows. With time, Alba builds a close relationship with her grandmother and other family friends she meets along the way. Alba finally gets to know the former version of her mother through Toni, her mother's childhood best friend, as they spend time together baking bread for his bakery. Eventually, Alba's mother joins her in Barcelona with a battered face and hopes to build a new life without Alba's abusive father. When Toni's bakery is in danger of closing, Alba and her mother team up to devise a rescue plan. Guerrero weaves traumatic flashbacks of domestic violence together with scenes of opportunity and hope in this coming-of-age drama about forgiveness, friendship, and family. Any reader will relate to Alba's experiences finding her true self and her first taste of romance. The author does a beautiful job educating readers about the differences between gender identity and sexuality in a way that is suitable for middle grade readers. A diverse range of characters facilitate Alba's growth through her relationships. The Spanish language sprinkled throughout helps craft an authentic tone and will not impact non-Spanish speakers' understanding of the text. VERDICT A charming, original title that will draw fans of Janae Marks's From the Desk of Zoe Washington.—Angie Jameson, Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools, OH - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.