It’s a familiar story; nerd catches the eye of a bully. Although on the surface Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina is about bullying, ultimately it is about choices. It is told in a genuine language that is a fusion of English and Spanish, showing these struggles aren’t limited to a certain culture or gender.Piedad “Piddy” Sanchez has to go to a new school when she and her mother move. When Piddy is told Yaqui Delgado wants to beat her up, she has no idea who Yaqui is and what Piddy did to warrant her rage. Piddy doesn’t need this added frustration on top of keeping up her high GPA, working weekends at Salon Corazon, beginning a romance with her old neighbor, Joey Halper and trying to understand why her mother is so secretive about Piddy’s absent father. Piddy’s best friend and confidant, Mitzi, has also moved. Mitzi has a whole set of new friends and doesn’t seem have time for Piddy, so she is on her own. Piddy has to decide whether to live in fear or get help and be a despised narc.
The strong Latina women whose words ring in Piddy’s ear are her single mom, Clara, and her mom’s best friend, Lila. Medina convincingly portrays the circumstantial elements that can lead an urban youth to fall from being an academically accomplished student to a possible drop out. Piddy’s painfully realistic battle to disentangle from this pointless harassment will inspire anyone who has ever been a target, or a witness to bullying to stand up and speak out.