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Amigas: Fifteen Candles Kindle Edition

15 customer reviews

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Length: 187 pages Age Level: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 - 17

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10 Alicia Cruz has big dreams. She's working as a summer intern at City Hall in order to polish up her college résumé when she has a chance to help a friend plan her quinceañera. The teen has four close friends, each with a distinct style and strength, which makes the group work well together. As Alicia begins her research on quinces, she decides that the friends have what it takes to start a business. She proposes the plan to them, and they immediately begin to launch their Amigas enterprise. However, as the time for the party draws near, the partners experience some issues. Chambers does a good job of developing five characters who are working through some growing pains but come out of the situation triumphantly. The narrative is a little heavy on food descriptions and designer-label name-dropping, but it shows practical elements of learning to mature. The author gives a nod to the cultural implications of quinces, as well as to the fact that not everyone can afford a big party. Instead, many people have to plan and budget, something the Amigas run into during their preparations. A light read that will be of most interest to Hispanic populations. Emily Garrett Cassady, North Garland High School, Garland, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It's Alicia's quince años, and even though her thoroughly modern parents took her to Spain for her quinceañera, most of her friends are having elaborate parties to celebrate their entry into womanhood. When she realizes that a fellow intern in the mayor's office needs help in planning her quince, Alicia envisions a new business venture for her and her three best friends, Amigas Inc. What initially seems to be easy money turns into miscommunication, hurt feelings, and potential disaster. This somewhat unrealistic feel-good story is populated with cute and talented teens, tolerant and tolerated adults, gorgeous houses regardless of economic strata, first-blush romance, and barely veiled life lessons. A warm celebration of Latin culture, especially the traditional quinceañera, this is the first in a series that is sure to draw a large audience. Grades 6-10. --Frances Bradburn

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I decided to review this book, which is set in South Beach, Miami, because like Miami I have many Latina influences where I live in Orange County, California. In fact, 95% of my fifth grade class in which I teach are Latino. I have also been to a few quinceaneras in the last few years.

FIFTEEN CANDLES is a story about Alicia, whose parents are very successful. Her mother is a judge and her father is deputy mayor. Alicia is expected to go to an Ivy League college and to follow in their footsteps, something that she is eager to do. She takes an internship at City Hall, and there she meets a girl who is having trouble planning her quince.

In the Latin culture, a quinceanera is a ceremony which recognizes the passage of girlhood to adulthood and takes place in her fifteenth year. There is a church ceremony and then a big party. It can be very expensive.

Alicia gathers up her posse to help out her co-worker. She has three friends who are very talented. Carmen is a designer; Jamie, who is from New York, is a talented stylist; and Gaz, who has a band. The four of them learn how to work together and plan a rockin' quince.

I loved the reality of the story. I liked the fact that there is controversy over whether girls should have a quinceanera or maybe save the money or use it for something else, like a trip. I spoke to the pastor of my church, who is Hispanic, about quinces, and his view is that it has become more of a party than anything else. He has two girls and will give them a quince, but only if they take the church service seriously.

I also liked that Alicia was given power and it kind of corrupts her for a little while. She learns to trust her friends and that is a great lesson.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BookNerd on May 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved this book! The Amigas, led by their fearless leader, Alicia are such a fun, diverse, and talented group of characters. The story centers around a group of teenagers, Alicia, Carmen, Jamie, and Gaz who form a quinceanera-planning biz. Each of the teens has a different talent that they contribute to the business: Alicia- head of planning, Carmen- designer, Jamie- stylist (makeup, hair, shoes!), Gaz- music. Alicia ends up getting in over her head when they get their first client, Sarita, including, shaving Sarita's head to look like Natalie Portman in V. The situations she finds herself in are hilarious, and I found myself laughing throughout the book.
The book is funny, but it's also very glamorous! The Amigas come up with such creative ideas, and the party they throw for Sarita is amazing. It would be awesome if a real-life Amigas Inc. existed.

The book is great not only for its humor and glamour, but also because Alicia is such a relatable character, and her conflicts with not having her own quinceanera while trying to embrace her Latina heritage by planning other girls' quinces felt very sincere and true to the cultural conflicts that many first-generation American teens face. I would highly recommend this book!

FYI, there's also a subtle romance that brews between Gaz and Alicia who have been best friends since childhood, which is very intriguing. I think there's more to come in the next book.... will have to read to find out!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hello NYC on May 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a quick, fun read. The fashions in this book are amaazing! I'm sure any fashion-forward girl would love to own the clothes that Carmen designs. Alicia's idea for a quince planning business is genius and even though she has some rough moments with her friends, I think young girls will relate to the typical friend conflicts. Thankfully, at the end of it all, they manage to come up with one of the most fabulous, magical, space-themed quinceanera parties ever. It's pretty outrageous, but that's just how magnificent the party-planning teens are. The setup for this book is fantastic and I think it's going to be a great series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Father of Three on May 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Great reading for young adults, boys as well as girls.
Classic coming-of-age struggles told with a sharp ear for dialogue, music, fashion, peer pressure, the bumpy road toward coolness.
Strong story lines, flavorful cultural context, memorable characters who care deeply about one another; tough choices faced at archetypal crossroads.
Empowering for latinos and latinas but also fascinating, entertaining for non-Hispanics, both for those who are totally ignorant of latin culture and those who know a little, want to learn a lot more.
Covers teenage characters with lots of diverse latin roots, not just Mexican and Puerto Rican.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ReadingTween on May 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Amigas: Fifteen Candles is a story filled with the fun, music, fashion and excitement of planning your own quinceañera. The characters and story lines feel real for any girl- from feeling annoyed at a bossy friend, to wondering if a boy friend could turn into a boyfriend, to balancing what you want with what your parents want. From the first page to the last one, the reader is thrown into the thrill and enjoyment of being fifteen, hanging out with best friends, obsessing over boys, clothes, and hair, and, most importantly, planning the night of a lifetime.
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