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Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa [Kindle Edition]

Micol Ostow
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.99
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC


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Book Description

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—After the death of the grandmother she has never met, Emily, a Jewish teen from a New York City suburb, spends a life-changing summer in Puerto Rico. Her mother left her homeland to attend college in New York and stayed on to earn a doctorate, marry, and, seemingly, never look back. Now, the girl must sacrifice a precollege road trip and final weeks with her boyfriend to stay in Puerto Rico while her grieving parent reconnects with her past. At first, relations are strained between Emily and her relatives; though polite and tactful, she's shy and sometimes mistaken for "stuck-up," particularly by her cousin Lucy, who treats her like a spoiled, privileged brat. As her mother comes to grips with her estranged sisters and her loss, Emily learns the truth about their severed ties as well as about life in the real Puerto Rico-not the one in "getaway brochures." When Lucy suspects that she is pregnant, only her New York family can help; old-fashioned attitudes and limited options for women are part of her decision to leave the island, just as her aunt did so many years before. Emily's honest, thoughtful narrative tells this engaging story of family and culture drawn from the author's own experience.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

When high-school senior Emily Goldberg leaves her New York suburban home to attend her grandmother's funeral in Puerto Rico, it's her first meeting with her mother's extended family. She has always wondered why Mom didn't return home after she left for college in New York, or even later, when she married her hippy Jewish boyfriend. Emily stays in Puerto Rico for the summer to help Mom reconnect with what she left behind, and discovers a new world. Her fast, funny, present-tense narrative is totally without affectation as she learns about food, music, museums, and the rain forest, gets close to a gorgeous guy, and tries to overcome the seething hostility of her cousin Lucy (who treats her as "a new strain of toenail fungus"). Without heavy messages, Ostow draws on her own half-Jewish, half-Puerto Rican roots to tell a moving story that has a solid plotline and plenty of family secrets--past and present--as it opens up issues of tradition, feminism, friendship, and loyalty. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 271 KB
  • Print Length: 212 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1595141448
  • Publisher: Razorbill (November 8, 2007)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001QPHNR6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,217,823 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique blend of two distinct cultures November 30, 2008
Early in my undergraduate career, I became fascinated by tales of immigrants' children caught between two worlds: modern America and the Puerto Rico or Mexico of their parents' and grandparents' dreams. I read several books on the topic, including Cool Salsa and An Island Like You. Also, I've taught dozens of Puerto Rican students, and I feel a great love for Puerto Rican culture, customs, and food despite the fact that I've never had the chance to visit. The icing on the pastel was the fact that it was a bargain book.

Emily is a regular Jewish teenager from the suburbs of New York. Her mother, a college professor, is originally from Puerto Rico, although she hasn't gone back in decades. Her father is a successful lawyer. Emily and her brother grew up in an affluent suburb, and the closest connection she has with her Puerto Rican family is through high school Spanish classes. That all changes when her Puerto Rican grandmother dies, and the whole Goldberg family flies down to Puerto Rico for the funeral. Emily feels totally out of place in this sea of unknown relatives; she can't speak Spanish, and has little in common with her cousins. As Emily says, "This is not the Puerto Rico of getaway brochures." She notices the crumbling blacktop, weeds, and run-down strip malls.

She's horrified when her in-control mother falls apart at being back in Puerto Rico, and at her father's request that she stay with her mom until she's ready to return to New York. Emily's a fish out of water; not only does she not speak Spanish, but all of her relatives are Catholic and expect her to attend church. Her two best friends are taking a cross-country road trip without her. And she meets a boy that she's attracted to even as her New York boyfriend Noah seems to be drifting away from her.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Stereotypes and more Stereotypes September 28, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
.5 stars

I must admit that when I saw this title and read the blurb about a half Jewish half Puerto Rican girl, I was giddy with excitement. I wanted to LOVE this book. I was happy to find a book written from a background that is so close to mine. I was happy that this was YA contemporary, and not a political book. Because most Puerto Rican authors insist on writing about political stuff even in the YA genre. Unfortunately, my giddiness died as soon as I started to read. I was extremely disappointed when page after page, I found that Micol Ostow, the half Puerto Rican half Jewish writer of Emily Goldberg learns to salsa, had filled the book with hurtful stereotypes of life in the US territory of Puerto Rico.
It's never my intention to post bad reviews. Why? Because sometimes, I do think we tend to be meaner than we should be when we don't like a book.
So, you might ask, why am I posting this review about a book that I've been fighting with since I started reading it, when I know it's going to be a .5 star review? Well, because this book has touched a nerve. No, it's not touched a nerve. It's released a deep rooted patriotism that I only exhibit for the mainland most of the time, because of the way the book portrays the US territory of Puerto Rico.
From the moment that I met Emily, on the first page of the book, I had problems relating to her. I didn't think her voice was particularly teenager-like, and it irked me no end that the pages were sprinkled with hurtful stereotypes that are not even true.
FYI, Puerto Rico has road and street signs, there is a.c. almost everywhere, especially funeral homes, fast food places, private homes, etc, and movies start when they are meant to start.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa August 6, 2007
High school senior Emily Goldberg has a perfect summer planned, the highlight of which is a cross-country road trip with her two best friends before they head off to separate colleges. But her plans are drastically altered when her maternal grandmother dies suddenly and Emily's family must fly to Puerto Rico to attend the funeral. Emily experiences culture shock when she finds herself in a crowded Catholic church with hundreds of relatives she didn't even know she had, including a cousin her own age named Lucy. When Emily's mother decides to remain in Puerto Rico for the rest of the summer to cope with her grief, Emily can't refuse her father's request that she stay with her. Feeling like an outsider (and the Jew from New York whom cousin Lucy refers to as "the nuyorican,"), Emily intends to quietly suffer through two months in a world so different from her own. But when Emily's mother finally opens up about her long unspoken past, Emily begins to reach out to her new relatives, and discovers the importance of connecting to both sides of her heritage. Emily's voice is authentic and witty, and her thoughts and observations will ring true with teens. Spanish words and phrases pepper the dialogue throughout this engaging novel. Ages 12-16.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too November 26, 2006
It's the summer after her senior year, right before she and her friends split up for college, and Emily Goldberg has plans. A road trip across the country with her best friends, Izzy and Adrienne. Hanging out with her boyfriend, Nate, and maybe figuring out what they're going to do at the end of the summer. But whatever else they may have held, her plans definitely hadn't included standing in a hot, crowded funeral home in a country she'd never been in, at the funeral for a grandmother she'd never met. EMILY GOLDBERG LEARNS TO SALSA is a funny, heartwarming story about family and roots, and how learning about them can teach you about yourself.

Emily's mother is from Puerto Rico, but she'd left for college, met and married Emily's father, and never gone back. Emily's never met her grandmother, or her many aunts, uncles, and cousins, until she's forced to go down to Puerto Rico for the funeral. But at least it's only for a few days...until her mother has some sort of crisis and Emily is forced to stay with her.

Sharing a bedroom with her mother, stuck in a country where she barely speaks the language, and living in her ultra-religious Tia Rosa's house with an impossible set of rules, Emily is not looking forward to the rest of the summer. It doesn't help that her cousin Lucy thinks she's a pampered princess from the mainland, and that her boyfriend back home isn't returning her calls. But readers will laugh as she's thrust into one uncomfortable situation after another. Salsa dancing for a girl with two left feet? Cooking with lard? Driving in a country with no street signs? Emily faces them all, slowly getting dragged out of the safe world she's built for herself and connecting with the family she'd never known she'd missed.
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More About the Author

Micol Ostow is half Puerto Rican, half Jewish, half editor, half writer, half chocolate, half peanut butter. When she is under deadline, she is often half asleep. She believes that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts except in the case of Chubby Hubby ice cream. She lives in New York City, where she practices liberal consumption of coffee, cheese, and chocolate.


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