Posted 20 hours ago

A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

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The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. This book is a solid performer for YA shelves for teen readers, but while I usually advocate for older readers to give YA a shot, this one doesn’t cut it for the adult set. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. Two hours later, after a near-silent bus ride followed by a totally silent cab ride, the driver drops us off at a place I’ve only seen in pictures. Being a Miami Cuban baker is her glorified past and destined future, forged by years of training by her loving abuela.

It’s un recuerdo of huge proportions, a memento of a best-friend plan I’m not quite ready to stuff into a drawer. I keep quiet because one of my summer hosts, Spencer, is waiting, and me getting hauled into secondary screening sits right up there with teeth pulling and gyno exams. That doesn’t mean Lila can’t be devastated by them – but if she is feeling them to the point of self-harm, she needs a therapist, instead of – or at least in addition to – a trip to England. To say Lila is reluctant is an understatement – she’s had plans and even though some terrible things have happened, she wants to dive straight into taking over the family business with her sister. The last one I ate was four months ago when Pilar wanted to celebrate her twenty-first birthday with afternoon tea at the Miami Biltmore Hotel.But oh, the way that the passion that Lila has for craft bleeds into everything she does and everything that this story is about. And another small snapshot of Abuela I took last year, her slight frame topped with a jaunty crop of graying black hair, smiling over her simple breakfast of café con leche and pan tostado.

I expected something good, but it felt really lackluster and it may have been because of my expectations. Happening right now—a Miami girl in an English club listening to an English band, sitting on an English boy’s lap, his sweater warm around me. I really want Orion in my life because he whisks Lila away on a motorbike, eating her food and mostly making sure that Lila loves cold, dreary England.

She thinks she knows what she loves and what she wants, yet as the story goes along, she discovers new pieces of herself, shapes new dreams for herself that she didn’t see coming, at all. Her passport and piles of travel documents and the packet from the Catholic Missionary Fellowship of South Florida covered her desk.

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