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Don't Date Rosa Santos: 12/07/20
Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno is set in Port Coral, Florida. Rosa Santos lives with her grandmother while her artist mother travels from place to place, following her dream. Now the quirky seaside town is set to lose its port to a developer. Can the town rally to raise the money to keep its small town charm?
On a personal level, Rosa and her family believe they are cursed by the sea. Her grandmother lost her husband on the way here from Cuba. Rosa's father set sail one day and didn't return, presumed dead. So Rosa has refused to fall in love, refused to date. But now there's sweet natured Alex Aquino who has a boat.
While Rosa is trying to decide which college to attend, planning how to save her town's landmark, and whether or not to follow her heart with Alex, she's also forced to face the curse head on. Her itinerant mother comes home to help with the town plans. She also comes home with a hostile ambivalence to the stories associated with the family curse.
I went into this novel expecting a different done — something more akin to The Taming of the Shrew, such as Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (2016). Instead, Don't Date Rosa Santos is a quiet book populated by a delightful cast of characters. Port Coral reminds me of Cicely, Alaska, from Northern Exposure.
Rosa's working through the family curse also sits on the road narrative spectrum. Rosa travels both with her family (mother and grandmother) and a couple with Alex (33). Her destination is uhoria in two forms (CC). As a family, it's the history with Cuba. As a couple, it's finding a hidden golden turtle. Her route is offroad (66), meaning on the water she has been raised to fear. Summarized, Don't Date Rosa Santos is about a couple and a family traveling through uhoria via an offroad route (33CC66).