Don't Date Rosa Santos | Teen Ink

Don't Date Rosa Santos

April 4, 2019
By PK725 SILVER, Santa Monica, California
PK725 SILVER, Santa Monica, California
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Everyone in the small town of Port Coral, Florida, believes that the Santos women are cursed by the ocean. Mimi Santos, the matriarch of the family, lost her husband on a stormy sea whilst escaping to the United States from Cuba; the boat-owning boyfriend of her daughter, Liliana, sailed out on rough waters one day and never returned.

Rosa Santos has lived in Port Coral for most of her life, and adores every aspect of the town. From the gourmet Cuban grocery store she works at, to the local elderly men– the viejitos– and their gossip-filled Instagram page, to her superstitious abuela Mimi’s good-luck charms, she can’t imagine living anywhere else. However, with college selections on the horizon and a chance at Port Coral being turned into a series of condos, Rosa knows that her actions will impact everyone around her. Moreover, when an attractive sailor comes into town, she must decide whether the stigma surrounding the Santos family jinx is enough to stop her from falling in love.

Every aspect of Port Coral is truly magical. Moreno has created such a vivid world; the sheer amount of description of the sleepy Florida town, from lively boardwalks to little indie bookshops, contributes to the unique nature of the place. Additionally, every inhabitant has their own wonderful eccentricities. Rosa herself has an affinity for planning and organizing, but cares deeply for everyone she knows; conversely, her best friend Ana pushes Rosa to be more adventurous and leave behind her comfort zone.

However, the most outstanding part of the novel is the complicated relationship between the three generations of Santos women. While Mimi’s rigorous witchcraft practices, Liliana’s impulsive disappearances, and Rosa’s stubborn naïveté sometimes put them at odds with each other, the trio love each other fiercely.

Don’t Date Rosa Santos is a spunky love-song to Cuban-American culture, small-town life, and the importance of family. Filled with heart and the sensation of summer sun, it’s a novel that YA romance readers are sure to adore.

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