Book Discussion: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina


Piddy (Piedad) lives with her mom and her aunt-by-love, Lila, in a building that is falling apart. She doesn’t know who her dad
is and daydreams about him often. The restrictions her mom puts around her are starting to chafe, but her Saturday shifts with Lila provide enough relief that she can survive…until Piddy and her mom move to a better apartment and Piddy must switch schools. Within a few weeks of the move, Piddy is informed that “Yaqui Delgado wants to kick [her] ass” and Piddy’s life starts to quickly spiral out of control. The bullying escalates to physical violence, but Piddy refuses to tell anyone close to her. At the same time, she reconnects with an old neighbor and sparks fly between them as they search for a little comfort from their respective lives. Piddy’s Cuban and Dominican background come clearly through the food, music, culture, and language that are integrated into the story.

yaqui delgado

heartRomance Score: You’re Trying

Piddy’s relationship with Joey both makes sense and is a little random. He was her neighbor in the old building and she feels a connection to him because he’s also suffering – his dad is an alcoholic that beats his wife – but they feel like a couple by convenience or need rather than from actual affection. I like that she stops before going too far out of her comfort zone and that they find a way to help each other without making giant mistakes.

Rosie Feminist Score: Between Good Effort and A+ Success

There are so many great representations of strong ladies being awesome together. Piddy’s mom is making it on her own and doing everything she can to support her daughter and give her the best. Lila reminds her best friend and Piddy that it’s important to take risks and let your heart live; she’s also the best kind of aunt – who will give you the real information you need about boys, have your back in every situation, and let you vent or share the bad stuff going on without turning on the “mom.” Plus, I love that Piddy’s final choice feels very true to her character while still being strong. I take points away because Piddy’s mom and another lady go at each other instead of realizing that the snake in the situation is the guy.

diversity people circle icon Diversity Score: A+ Success

As mentioned in the summary, Piddy is Cuban and Dominican and the book does a great job of showing that in her story. The music mentioned, the dance moves Lila teaches her, and their usual evening meals are all small details that reflect her Latina life. In addition, we get diversity of income, opportunity, and family units from the other students at Piddy’s new school. There are a lot of Spanish and Spanglish terms thrown into the story – and they’re always italicized and often translated for the reader with repetition. I know this is the way it’s (often) done, but it assumes that the reader is unfamiliar with these terms which seems odd in a book about a Latina character by a Latina writer.

wow icon Awesome Factor: Good Effort

I really liked Piedad’s story, her family, and the representation of both a poor and Latina family. I think Piddy’s story is important to share so we have more perspectives like hers. I did feel like some of the side characters were a little flat and, while it’s realistic that Piddy would know so little about Yaqui, I still wish we had a little more of her perspective to help the reader understand why Yaqui behaves the way she does. Though Lila’s explanation helps the reader, it’s also pretty unsympathetic to Yaqui – and she’s the kind of girl that could probably use a little more compassion than we think she deserves.

Favorite Character

Lila – she’s supportive, strong, and brave. She balances out Piddy’s mom and gives the advice you need not the advice you want. She’s fun, she’s beautiful, she’s confident, and she teaches Piddy how to revel in her womanhood while also being responsible.

Favorite Line

Sorry guys, I read this on the metro and forgot to write it down! I’d rather leave this blank than go through and just pick something random.

Is this worth a book hangover?

I read this quickly and enjoyed Piddy’s story – I’d recommend it, but not sure a hangover is necessary.

Read This Next

This Side of Home by Renee Watson offers a Black American perspective on high school. I’ll be reviewing When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds soon.

Post Author


Jess loves SFF – old and new school –  and is learning to appreciate the more lovey-dovey YA under the careful tutelage of Anisha’s recommendations.


Filed under Contemporary, Heavy Topics, High School

4 responses to “Book Discussion: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

  1. I just found your blog and can I just say, hello new favourite blog! I love that your focus is on feminist and diverse books, and your rating system is not only cool, but super helpful. Looking forward to reading your posts 🙂


    • HUGE thanks, Rebecca! We’re so glad someone is finding it useful and gets where we’re coming from with our book love! We’re always looking for recommendations, so let us know if you have any ideas for our next reads. 🙂 🙂


  2. Pingback: Book Chat: Boy in the Black Suit | The Bookmark

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