A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

S. & S./­Atheneum. Oct. 2020. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534471245.
Gr 7 Up–Lila has led her life following every instruction, much like she does with her beloved family recipes. Nestled in Miami, Lila has been surrounded by her Cuban family and has her life planned out after high school—take over her abuela’s bakery, move in with her best friend, and keep seeing her boyfriend Andrés. But even recipes that are tried and true can sometimes fall apart. Lila’s best friend Stef wants to do missionary work in a rural village in Africa, Andrés breaks up with her, then the worst thing happens—her abuela passes away. Lila is left numb and, in an attempt to feel something, she goes for a run that lasts hours without telling anyone. Worried, her family makes the decision to send Lila to England to stay with family. There, Lila misses her Cuban family, sunny weather, and her old life. She is stuck in the past and can’t seem to move on. New scenery helps Lila reflect on her life and bring into focus what she wants, which may not be what she thought it was. It also doesn’t hurt that she meets a cute boy named Orion. Like so many children of immigrants, there is a sense that first-generation children should have careers thought out, and Lila is realizing that she has power over her life’s direction. The teen’s sweet love story and desire to find herself while trying to stay connected to her Cuban heritage is a relatable message.
VERDICT Readers who have often wondered about stepping outside their comfort zone can find courage in Lila’s story.

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