Book Review: The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano
Before I gush about the fact that this book was pretty awesome, I want to point out that it was written by Sonia Manzano. Ring a bell? Didn’t for me either. I was too young to read the credits. How about Maria from Sesame Street? Bingo!!!
So The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is historical fiction that takes place in Spanish Harlem in 1969. Our protagonist is 14, just working her first job outside the family’s bodega at a nearby Five and Dime. She’s always been used to the conditions of where she lives– but suddenly a new group The Young Lords (a Puerto Rican activist group) come to the neighborhood and starts talking about how bad the conditions are, and is trying to get the locals to protest with them. This book is awesome! It has all kinds of stuff going on– a difficult family history that was on both sides of a revolution, good writing, racist cops, clear ideas about the effects of poverty, coming of age, ambiguity about “good” or “bad,” learning about one’s culture, etc. The protagonist is smart and perceptive and interesting and her family is believable.
The book is being marketed to “Juvenile” readers (probably 5th to 7th grade), and I’m not sure that all the readers will “get it” outside of a classroom– but it’s still quite a good read regardless of your age.