Book Review: Does My Body Offend You?

By Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt

In 2017, amid the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Maria in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico, more than 135,000 Puerto Ricans left the island, moving to the United States. Many were students, assimilating into a different culture and daily routines and expectations.

Malena, an honor student, is one of those displaced by Maria. She now lives in Miami with her mother, close to other family members that have lived there long before the upheaval in Puerto Rico. Her father stayed on the island, helping with the restoration of basic necessities such as power and water.

Life is different, but Malena is an honor student trying to learn the culture and assimilate as best she can. Things were going pretty well until the day she was so sunburn she could not wear a bra to school. Her mother insisted it would be fine to go braless, but one of the teachers thought differently. She was sent to the principal’s office and the nurse’s office. Eventually she was humiliated by the nurse insisting that she wear panty liners taped to her nipples. She was given detention because they said it was against the dress code to go braless – which eventually is found to be false. When one of the popular girls, Ruby, finds out about what happened to Malena, she begins the rebellion. Standing up for her rights was not what Malena bargained for, yet she ends up being the poster girl for the revolution.

Does My Body Offend You? Is an interesting coming of age novel for teens and adults. There are situations that would not be appropriate for younger readers. That being said, it is beautifully complex. The melding of cultures is interesting and informative. The characters are fully developed and complex. Both authors have created a seamless collaborative novel about difficult situations that will make you think of the characters and situations long after the last pages are read.

Author Myra Cuevas was born in Puerto Rico and is a professional journalist and fiction writer. Does My Body Offend You? is her second novel, the first, Salty Bitter Sweet, is a YA aswell. Award winning author Marie Marquardt is an author of young adult novels, a college professor, and an immigration advocate. Marquardt’s second novel, The Radius of Us is also a novel of Latin American teenagers seeking asylum in the United States.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the Author and Netgalley and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2022 Laura Hartman

Leave a comment

Filed under fiction, YA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s