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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Adios to My Old Life* by Caridad Ferrer - young adult book review


Adios to My Old Life
by Caridad Ferrer
Young adult 256 pages MTV Books July 2006 Paperback    

Adiós To My Old Life, new MTV fiction by Caridad Ferrer, doesn't deserve its five stars. It deserves at least twice that! It's the story of Alegría Montero, a talented seventeen-year-old singer and guitarist. Ali dreams of performing, and that doesn't mean just at family parties on weekends. She wants to go pro, and she gets her chance when a new reality television show holds auditions in Miami.

Oye Mi Canto (Hear My Song in English) is also called "The Latin American Idol." They're searching for the newest Latin superstar, and Ali wants to be just that. She doesn't think she'll make it, but she does want her very overprotective Cuban father to take her ambitions to perform seriously. While Ali loves her father, he doesn't understand why she doesn't want to be a teacher, performing at quincea ñeros on weekends.

Ali gets a big surprise when a letter from the producers of Oye Mi Canto arrives in the mail. She's made the cut. She is the youngest of sixteen finalists, and, as such, doesn't get to live in the huge house on the beach with the others but instead must travel back and forth from her house, accompanied by her father's friend, Elaine. That doesn't change much, though; she's still dealing with all of the same craziness as the other fifteen contestants, and more. Aside from wardrobe fittings, TV crews, and crazed fans, Ali has to deal with fellow contestant and diva wannabe, Fabiana. But this is what Ali's always wanted...isn't it?

Of course, what comes of being on ,i>Oye Mi Canto isn't all bad. She meets some great people along the way: Guillermo, a fellow contestant and a friend; Andre, in charge of wardrobe; Esperanza, the "psychotic, motormouthed pixie" in charge of the show; and, best of all, Jaime, a college student working on the show for the summer. Jaime and Ali are friends...and maybe more. These people, plus wanting to prove something to her father, have to make Fabiana's jealous diva act bearable, right?

Adiós To My Old Life really pulls you in - I read it all in one sitting and wanted more. It'd be great if Caridad Ferrer would write a sequel, but Adiós To My Old Life is great just the way it is, too. If this is the sort of book that MTV chooses to publish with their name on it, I'm really looking forward to reading more of the new MTV books. This book is a great choice for everyone--music lover, dreamer, Cuban-American teenager, or just book lover. A page-turning must-read, this book stands out in any classification you put it in. Books about music? It's one of the best. Same in the world of young adult fiction or Latin American books in English.

Ali, as has been mentioned before, is only one in a cast of great, believable characters. We've all got a Fabiana in our lives; we can only hope we have great friends like Sosi, Ali's best friend from the beginning, as well. Maybe your father is an overprotective worrywart just like Ali's. Because these characters are so much like the people we meet every day, you'll find yourself expecting to look up and see Tonio or Sosi right there with you. These characters, as cliche as it may sound, seem to step right off the page and into reality.

We can only hope to see more brilliant work from Caridad Ferrer in the future. I know I'll be first in line at Barnes and Noble to buy any future books of hers! Her writing is brilliant, and the way she creates Ali's world of reality TV madness is magnificent. Every chapter of this novel, beginning to end, is flawless, with a brilliant plot, characters, setting, and anything else you can imagine. It is certainly worth your time and money.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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