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Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

21 July 2009

Down to the Bone

Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole is a coming of age and coming out story about a Cuban young woman in Miami.

Laura is days away from completing her junior year at a Catholic high school when she is caught reading a love letter in class. The nun/teacher decides to read the letter out loud as punishment (or because nuns are just mean). The punishment and embarrassment changes when it becomes evident that the note was written by another girl.

Laura is expelled and told not to come back for her senior year. Her mother is called and will not let her stay in their house until she becomes "normal," dates a guy and names the girl with whom she has been sleeping.

With nowhere else to go, Laura moves in with her best friend and her mother. They are totally accepting of Laura even though Laura herself has a way to go before she will be comfortable being a tortillera.

In this story of coming out in a culture that has strong beliefs about the role of men and women and where family reputations can be broken by one member, Dole fills a gap in GLBTQ young adult literature. She writes in a fun style that tones down the serious issues being addressed while packing in all types of queer characters.

Dole, Mayra Lazara. (2008). Down to the Bone. New York: Harper Teen.

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