February 21, 2007

Truth Well Spiced

Hayley Flynn's life is turning inside out. Her dad's kind of ditched them -- forever, it looks like. Her mom's going into a "program" to "work things out," which leaves Hayley having to move away from everything and everyone she knows in Kalamazoo, Michigan to spend six months with her freaky grandma -- in San Cristobal, MEXICO. Mexico wouldn't be bad for a vacation, but to live there? Will she have any friends? Is her grandma even... normal? Dad always said she was nuts.

But Dad was wrong about a lot of things...

Since life is getting spicier, there's nothing for Hayley to do but change her name to the more glamorous Margarita, and jump in. Making friends, going to school and getting to the bottom of la fantasma that haunts her grandmother's house is only part of what occupies Hayley attention in San Cristobal. Her father's abandonment and her mother's depression trouble her. What's worse, her new friend Lili's father is also not around anymore - but that's because he's picking grapes in Michigan -- and due to immigrations issues, he's stuck there. Since Hayley can't go home to her family, the least she can do is help Lili get her Dad home.

Truth and Salsa by Linda Lowery is a thoughtful and beautifully written book that explores living in a different culture and the challenges and joys of getting to know your family better. A great rainy afternoon read for those longing for a bit of sunshine.

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