One year just after Christmas when Ximena is thirteen, she overhears her parents talking - a conversation she is not supposed to hear. She catches the word, “father,” but wonders why they are whispering? Federico is the only father Ximena has ever known since he and her mom married six years ago. Of course, she knows she has a biological father, but her mom never talks about him - and Ximena never asks. All she knows is that he is “away” and doesn’t live near them. But after overhearing her parents’ discussion, she starts to wonder why she has no contact with him. At the same time, too, life is becoming more challenging for Ximena in school - academically, but mostly socially. And, after learning what “away” really means, she is faced with a decision that will alter her life. At the age where her friends and cousins are having their quinceañeras (many of which are much more extravagant than the one she knows her parents will be able to afford for her), Ximena is also forced to confront some ugliness that arises with the occurrence of these parties. Feeling like an outsider even in her own community, she begins to question everything about who she is. It’s not until she starts communicating with Daniel that her life changes even more - as if she needs the extra drama. In this story, read how a father and a daughter finally learn of each other’s existence and how they navigate that connection in challenging times; ones of overwhelm and danger. Can their newfound relationship withstand the pressures of life?
Level Two Reader
107 pages, includes glossary.