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Everything Within and In Between
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Everything Within and In Between
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Color Me In meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in Everything Within and In Between, a deeply honest coming-of-age story about reclaiming a heritage buried under assimilation, the bonds within...
Color Me In meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in Everything Within and In Between, a deeply honest coming-of-age story about reclaiming a heritage buried under assimilation, the bonds within...
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  • Color Me In meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in Everything Within and In Between, a deeply honest coming-of-age story about reclaiming a heritage buried under assimilation, the bonds within families, and defining who you are for yourself.

    For Ri Fernández's entire life, she's been told, "We live in America and we speak English." Raised by her strict Mexican grandma, Ri has never been allowed to learn Spanish.

    What's more, her grandma has pulled Ri away from the community where they once belonged. In its place, Ri has grown up trying to fit in among her best friend's world of mansions and country clubs in an attempt try to live out her grandmother's version of the "American Dream."

    In her heart, Ri has always believed that her mother, who disappeared when Ri was young, would accept her exactly how she is and not try to turn her into someone she's never wanted to be. So when Ri finds a long-hidden letter from her mom begging for a visit, she decides to reclaim what Grandma kept from her: her heritage and her mom.

    But nothing goes as planned. Her mom isn't who Ri imagined she would be and finding her doesn't make Ri's struggle to navigate the interweaving threads of her mixed heritage any less complicated. Nobody has any idea of who Ri really is—not even Ri herself.

    Everything Within and In Between is a powerful new young adult novel about one young woman's journey to rediscover her roots and redefine herself from acclaimed author Nikki Barthelmess.

About the Author-

  • Nikki Barthelmess is an author of young adult books, including The Quiet You Carry, Quiet No More, and Everything Within and in Between. While growing up in foster care, Nikki found solace in books and writing. A former journalist, Nikki lives in sunny Santa Barbara with her husband, daughter, and diva of a corgi. When not reading or working on her books, Nikki loves advocating for the rights of current and former foster youth, jogging near the beach, and trying to convince her abuelita that feminism means it's okay that her husband does all the cooking.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2021
    A Mexican American girl fights to reclaim her culture. Maria is a high school junior in Santa Barbara, California, torn between her anger toward her maternal grandmother, who denies her any cultural connections to her Mexican ancestry, and her admiration for this same woman who raised her and works tirelessly keeping house for a wealthy family in order to give Ri access to more opportunities. Ri's grandmother wants her to assimilate, even discouraging her from learning Spanish, exchanging their Catholic church for a Whiter version of Christianity, and urging her to hang out with the kids she deems good influences like her White friend, Brittany. Ri, whose biological father was a White American she's never met, usually obeys her grandmother's wishes--until the day she discovers a letter in Spanish from her estranged mother, written two years earlier, that upends everything. Ashamed that she had to use an online translation tool to understand the letter, Ri switches from French to Spanish class to connect with her heritage. There, she discovers that her Latinx classmates are not all fluent and she is not the only outsider, as she had believed, and that these kids whom her friends, guidance counselor, and grandmother had warned her against also hold complex relationships with their cultural identities. Barthelmess' story thoughtfully explores intergenerational cultural dynamics and racial microaggressions as it follows Ri on her journey of self-discovery. An honest and engaging narrative. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 11, 2021
    After 17-year-old Ri Fernández, who is Mexican American and white, finds a letter her grandmother had hidden away, revealing her absent mother’s location and desire to reconnect (“I’ve had a mom who wanted to be in my life all along. And Grandma never told me”), Ri, who could not read the Spanish-language letter without Google Translate, decides to transfer from French to Spanish class. The decision quickly sets Ri on a path of rebelliousness and introspection, leading her to meet up with her mother in secret, reject her Mexican grandmother’s push to assimilate, and reassess her closest relationships with fresh eyes. In Ri’s open, occasionally sarcastic first-person narration, Barthelmess (Quiet No More) examines identity, complicated intergenerational relationships, and the power of connection to one’s cultural heritage and community with sincerity and insight in this nuanced contemporary coming-of-age novel. Ri is an absorbing protagonist who’s allowed to mess up, reckon with the complexities of her identity and privilege, and grow on the page, and readers will find much to love in Ri’s journey as she sets out to define who she is and what she wants for herself. Ages 13–up. Agent: Sarah Gerton, Curtis Brown.

  • Booklist

    October 15, 2021
    Grades 8-12 For Ri Fern�ndez, living in America has meant not learning a single word of Spanish. Her Mexican grandmother forbids her to learn and strongly believes that if they live in the States, they should only speak English. Obsessed with the American dream, Ri's grandmother wants her to aspire to belong to a world filled with country clubs, mansions, and high-end living. Yet Ri has always wanted to know more about her heritage and her mother, who disappeared when Ri was younger. One day, Ri finds a letter that leads her to pursue those questions about her background and to visit her estranged mother. But will she find what she is looking for and learn more about herself in the process? This lush coming-of-age tale will fire readers' emotions as they follow Ri's quest to learn more about her heritage, with some serious bumps along the way. But what's life without growth and understanding? This tale, full of hope and realistic situations, will speak to those who enjoy stories exploring identity and true purpose.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 4, 2022

    Gr 9 Up-After 17-year-old Maria "Ri" Fern�ndez's mom left when she was little, Maria was raised by her grandparents. Now, it is only Ri and her Grandma, who works long hours as an assistant to a wealthy family to ensure Ri has everything she needs. After finding a two-year-old letter her Grandma had hidden in which her mom expressed a wish to be part of the teen's life, Ri is determined to meet her. When she finally comes face to face with her mom, she is furious that her Grandma had kept them apart. Plus, her Grandma only wanted Ri to speak English and isolated them from their Mexican community. At the same time, Ri's friendship with her longtime friend Brittany, who is white, starts to crumble as Ri realizes that Brittany also displays passive aggressive and insulting behavior towards Ri's Latinx friends. Important discussions about heritage and embracing one's culture take place, including colorism within the Latinx community. This fast-paced novel highlights issues like open communication and among family and friends and addiction. VERDICT A solid addition to young adult collections.-Selenia Paz

    Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews

    "Barthelmess' story thoughtfully explores intergenerational cultural dynamics and racial microaggressions as it follows Ri on her journey of self-discovery. An honest and engaging narrative." — Kirkus Reviews

    "This lush coming-of-age tale will fire readers' emotions as they follow Ri's quest to learn more about her heritage ... full of hope and realistic situations, [it] will speak to those who enjoy stories exploring identity and true purpose." — Booklist

    "Barthelmess examines identity, complicated intergenerational relationships, and the power of connection to one's cultural heritage and community with sincerity and insight in this nuanced contemporary coming-of-age novel. Readers will find much to love in Ri's journey as she sets out to define who she is and what she wants for herself." — Publishers Weekly

    "A moving story of acceptance, this will give readers space to consider what they can't change, what they must fight to change, and what they shouldn't have to." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

    "A relatable, compelling, and powerful story that offers a way forward, a way to reclaim and redefine one's self." — Randy Ribay, author of the National Book Award finalist Patron Saints of Nothing

    "An earnest and heartfelt look at biracial identity, complicated family dynamics, and the discovery of awho we are and who we hope to become." — Crystal Maldonado, author of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

    "A hopeful coming-of-age story about new friendships, first love, and figuring out how to bridge two worlds. It's a tender novel that glimmers with all of the wonder of self-discovery." — Monica Gomez-Hira, author of Once Upon a Quinceañera

    "A moving story about family, the challenges facing biracial teens, and the importance of forgiveness." — Ismée Williams, author of This Train Is Being Held

    A stunning story about having faith in oneself, one's friends, and one's family. Ri and all the people she loves are so real and full of heart that it's impossible not to root for them" — Samantha Mabry, author of Tigers, Not Daughters

    "A solid addition to young adult collections." — School Library Journal

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