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Stef Soto, Taco Queen: 01/29/17

Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres

Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres is a middle grade fiction about a girl who is struggling to distance herself from Tia Perla, the taco truck her father owns. Stef wants more responsibility in her life: the ability to walk home or ride the bus, the ability to stay home by herself, maybe a cellphone, and the ability to stay at her friends house or attend events with friends without parental supervision.

The problem for Stef, though, is that her parents remember how hard it was for themselves at her age. They were immigrants in their teens and life for them was frightening and dangerous. Although they have managed to scrape together enough to own a house, raise a daughter, and buy a taco truck, they don't feel comfortable enough to let Stef have the freedom that some of her schoolmates have.

Stef though is forced to see things from her parents perspective when her father's livelihood is threatened by the city proposing new restrictions on food trucks. Worried about his ability to testify at the town hall meeting, Stef's father (and many of the other food truck owners) fear that they will be put out of business.

This was a story where I could completely relate to the parents — especially on the being over protective. The thing with letting your child go to someone else's house or go somewhere with them (chaperoned or not) is the expectation that somewhere down the line you will be expected to reciprocate. If your situation is such that you can't and you can't see a time in the future where that will change, it's very difficult to say yes.

This is a short book, perfect to read in the course of a weekend, or together has a class over the course of a week or two. While it has a happy ending, it's not a Disney happy ending. Stef doesn't get all her wishes answered. Instead, she gets to better understand her parents and to appreciate the importance that Tia Perla has in her life.

Five stars

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