Chances in Disguise

Piñata Bks. Oct. 2021. 192p. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781558859302.
Gr 8 Up–Four years after she and her family fled Mexico as the revolution was starting, 17-year-old Evangelina de León has gained medical experience and is able to successfully help people with various health issues. When she is pushed away by a doctor for helping a woman in labor, the last thing Evangelina expects is to be charged with the woman’s murder. Taken to a jail cell and kept from seeing her parents, she is bullied by the Sherriff, who attempts to sexually assault her. Hope comes in the form of a young journalist named Cora, who was sent to help Evangelina by her good friend Doctor Taylor and who hopes to bring attention to Evangelina’s case and find her legal help. As the case goes to trial, witnesses are called and the story unravels for readers. The protagonist must also deal with her feelings for Selim, whom she hopes to marry; her dream of practicing medicine; and the everyday cruelty and racism from many of the townsfolk who already think of her as guilty. Chapters are easy to read and follow, with information given about Evangelina’s background and family for those who may not be familiar with the first book, Evangelina Takes Flight.
VERDICT Set against the backdrop of 1915 Texas, this novel shows harsh realities faced by immigrants who endured racism and injustice, in both the legal system and the everyday, and the battle Evangelina undertakes to find justice.

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