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Download Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA, by Julia Alvarez Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (471 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julia Alvarez Narrator: Daphne Rubin-Vega Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The quinceañera, the fifteenth birthday celebration for a Latina girl, is quickly becoming an American event. This legendary party is a sight to behold: lavish ball gowns, extravagant catered meals, DJs, limousines, and multi-tiered cakes. The must haves for a “quince” are becoming as numerous and costly as a prom or wedding. And yet, this elaborate ritual also hearkens back to traditions from native countries and communities, offering young Latinas a chance to connect with their heritage.

In Once Upon a Quinceañera, Julia Alvarez explores this celebration that brings a Latina girl into womanhood. She attends the quince of a young woman named “Monica” who lives in Queens, and witnesses the commotion, confusion, and potential for disaster that comes with planning this important event. Alvarez also weaves in interviews with other quince girls, her own memories of coming of age as an immigrant, and the history of the custom itself: how it originated and what has changed as Latinas become accustomed to a supersized  American culture.

Once Upon a Quinceañera is an enlightening, accessible, and entertaining portrait of contemporary Latino culture, as well as a critical look at the rituals of coming of age and the economic and social consequences of the quince parties. Julia Alvarez’s dedicated fans will be eager to hear her thoughts on this topic. It is a great book for anyone interested in American youth today—parents, teachers, and teenagers themselves.                                          

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Though [Alvarez] brings a critical eye to long-held myths…[Once upon a Quinceañera] is a love song to the cultural ties that bind generations of women from a diverse group of countries.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “Alvarez’s honest grappling with her caught-between-two-cultures experience is compelling.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “In Once Upon a Quinceañera, a fascinating, exhaustively researched book about the celebration of a girl’s coming of age, bestselling novelist Julia Alvarez…studies the ancient ritual that unites the U.S. Latino community and is rapidly evolving and spreading across ethnic lines.”

    Washington Post

  • “A journey into experiencing a vital, exuberant ritual of modern Latino life…As an author, Alvarez is a terrific tour guide.”

    Seattle Times

  • “There’s plenty to savor in this production, and anyone looking for insight into a phenomenon that will only grow as the Latino population in the U. S. increases will appreciate this skillful presentation of Alvarez’s insights into the culture.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by AudryT | 2/10/2014

    " Interesting exploration of what quinces have become in America. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Megan | 2/8/2014

    " I have several students already planning for their own Quinceaneras, so this was a very interesting glimpse into that culture. Some girls spend more on their Quinceaneras than I spent on my wedding! A very readable, well-researched book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Julie | 1/31/2014

    " So, far this is a very interesting glimpse into a Latin American "tradition" exploited by the dream of becoming American, while preserving ones culture. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Julie | 1/27/2014

    " A fascinating blend of sociological observation and historical-literary research. The immense significance and beauty and ethical concerns over waste surrounding this tradition. "

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