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The Tequila Worm: How Do These Themes Represent the Author’s Young Adult Heroine in Her Quest for an Independent, Emerging Adulthood?

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Sofia's Texas barrio is as full of Mexican culture—from storytellers to healers to Christmas tamales and Easter cascarones—as it is of love and warmth

To Sofia, though, it is also increasingly shabby and limited, and when a scholarship offer to an exclusive boarding school arrives she decides to leave her family and barrio behind. Family expectations and peers' racist attitudes challenge her academic dreams, but her successes ultimately lead her all the way to Harvard Law.

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Sofia comes from a family of storytellers. Here are her tales of growing up in the barrio, full of the magic and mystery of family traditions: making Easter cascarones, celebrating el Dia de los Muertos, preparing for quincea–era, rejoicing in the Christmas nacimiento, and curing homesickness by eating the tequila worm

When Sofia is singled out to receive a scholarship to an elite boarding school, she longs to explore life beyond the barrio, even though it means leaving her family to navigate a strange world of rich, privileged kids. It's a different mundo, but one where Sofia's traditions take on new meaning and illuminate her path.

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Sofia undervalues some discriminating traditional values and beliefs; however, she pays attention to family values and beliefs as presented by her parents and sister. The book presents the significant of fighting against impunity and inappropriate behaviours in the society. In her early school years, Sofia was vibrant in attempting to fight for her rights in the society with less consideration of social beliefs and perceptions. Sofia confidence in her activities is particularly explored when her teachers claims that she demonstrates her ability “By kicking her butt at school, by beating her in English, Math, everything — even sports” (Canales 40). The story explores the important of taking a strong stand when attempting to attain one’s vision and dream. As observed in Sofia case, she demonstrates a considerable level of confidence while tackling challenging issues in the society

Sofia willingness of being successful in life is appreciated by her family members and other people in the society as she was awarded a scholarship to continue with her studies. Her father also trained her on the important of working hard in one activity by stating, “You’ll see what I’m talking about when you’re older” (Canales 35).

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In short, the loosely connected anecdotes then shift to a conventional narrative thread about convincing her parents to let her attend

What will keep readers enthralled are the details of Sofia's home life—from the sobremesa, a "sacred time" after dinner in which the family reconnects through conversation, to the worm of the title, a critter soaked in mescal that acts as a "cure for homesickness" when eaten. Readers may well feel unprepared for both a death at novel's end and Sofia's out-of-the-blue neighborhood activism—but the characters are real and engaging, the vignettes funny and enlightening, and Sofia's lack of cynicism is refreshing.

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Canales, Viola. The Tequila Worm. New York, NY: Wendy Lamb Books, 2011.print.

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