i received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. all opinions below are my own.
this blog post is part of the lupe wong won’t dance blog tour, organized by colored pages bookish tours.
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Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera
Lupe Wong is going to be the first female pitcher in the Major Leagues. She’s also championed causes her whole young life. Some worthy…like expanding the options for race on school tests beyond just a few bubbles. And some not so much…like complaining to the BBC about the length between Doctor Who seasons.
Lupe needs an A in all her classes in order to meet her favorite pitcher, Fu Li Hernandez, who’s Chinacan/Mexinese just like her. So when the horror that is square dancing rears its head in gym? Obviously she’s not gonna let that slide.
Not since Millicent Min, Girl Genius has a debut novel introduced a character so memorably, with such humor and emotional insight. Even square dancing fans will agree…
representation: chinese american, latinx american, chinese-latinx american, african american, autism
there’s a lot of things lupe wong would rather do than square dance in pe class – eat raw maggot puke, eat ten banana slugs a day for the rest of her life, and hang from a burning rope over the grand canyon filled with rattlesnakes. however, her uncle promised her that if she gets straights a’s, she gets to meet fu li hernandez, the first chinacan player in the major leagues, and she is determined to get a top grade in this class.
i loved lupe – once she sets her mind to something, there is no stopping her. her wit, determination, and sense of justice are all things i really admire about her. although she’s only in middle school, she’s not afraid to approach authority figures like her principal and sports coach to stand up for what she believes in. on top of this, she is a really loyal friend, and sometimes even makes the wrong decisions just to protect the people she cares about.
speaking of lupe being a loyal friend – i loved the friendships in this book! they’re not perfect, but that’s exactly what i liked about them – the author portrayed the friendship dynamics very realistically, and at the end of the day, you can still tell that deep down, the characters all really care about each other.
i could also really relate to lupe’s experience with mandatory dancing lessons – at my school, we learned a different type of dance every year – oh! susanna, hip hop, the cha-cha, jive, and ballroom dancing (which was canceled, thankfully) all gave me nightmares and all i could think about was – what if no one asks me to dance? what if i make a fool out of myself? lupe certainly handled the situation a lot better than i did, and i loved seeing her character growth – from being grumbly and frustrated to pushing through adversity with a smile.
we are all worthy. all a little different. some of us aren’t even from here. and some of us were right here before this country existed. but none of us are any better than the other.lupe wong won’t dance by donna barba higuera
last but not least, i loved the diversity! lupe is chinese on her dad’s side and mexican on her mom’s side – i loved reading about lupe’s dinner with her grandparents, where they brought both chinese food and mexican food to the table, and it sounded absolutely mouthwatering! apart from this, the cultural night held by lupe’s school was also one of my favorite scenes in the book ❤ moreover, there were quite a few diverse side characters – one of lupe’s best friends, niles, is on the autism spectrum, whie the other, andy, is african american.
to sum up, lupe wong won’t dance was a short, delightful read about perseverance and loving your friends, featuring a young and determined female athlete. ❤ despite this being a middle grade novel, it will surely bring smiles to all readers regardless of what age they are!
Donna grew up in central California surrounded by agricultural and oil fields. As a child, rather than dealing with the regular dust devils, she preferred spending recess squirreled away in the janitor’s closet with a good book. Her favorite hobbies were calling dial-a-story over and over again, and sneaking into a restricted cemetery to weave her own spooky tales using the crumbling headstones as inspiration.
Donna’s Middle Grade and Picture Books are about kids who find themselves in odd or scary situations. From language to cultural differences in being biracial life can become…complicated. So like Donna, characters tackle more than just the bizarre things that happen to them in their lives.
Donna likes to write about all things funny, but also sad, and creepy, and magical. If you like those things, she hopes you will read her books!
Donna lives in Washington State with her family, three dogs and two frogs.
have you read lupe wong won’t dance? what were your thoughts? let me know in the comments below!