(which just means soap opera in Spanish).
And she's here today with just that: a sneak peek of her work in progress, Telenovela.
But first, a brief word from our sponsor:
|Here I am, upside down, |
after an up and down week.
That would be me.
Ok, fine, more words: in honor of the countdown to the release of her debut YA Illegal (Katherine Tegen Books March 8, 2011), Bettina is hosting a giveaway on her website. Further instructions to enter and win a signed copy of Illegal at the bottom of this post!
Oh, and fyi, this is Bettina
|ask her if she really types|
her books on this thing.
and this is Nora's story, Illegal:
About Illegal (from Amazon):
A promise that we would be together on my fifteenth birthday . . .
Instead, Nora is on a desperate journey far away from home. When her father leaves their beloved Mexico in search of work, Nora stays behind. She fights to make sense of her loss while living in poverty—waiting for her father's return and a better day. When the letters and money stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must look for him in Texas. After a frightening experience crossing the border, the two are all alone in a strange place. Now, Nora must find the strength to survive while aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and her precious quinceaÑera.
Bettina Restrepo's gripping, deeply hopeful debut novel captures the challenges of one girl's unique yet universal immigrant experience.
Doesnt that sound beautiful and intense? But of course Bettina's not here for that today. She's here to put her new work up for some feedback, and to offer some in return if you'd like. You know the rules:
1. If it's the first few paragraphs of a novel – today it IS – tell me if it "hooks" you enough to make you want to keep reading, or not. If yes, why? If no, why not?
2. What works for you, draws you into the piece, and why?
3. What doesn’t work for you (if something doesn't) and why?
If you want the same feedback, please post your brief excerpt at the end of your comment (and tell us what it is -- e.g. opening to a novel, short story, poem, etc...). Please post no more than 3 paragraphs. If there's more, we may not read it. If you are a student from a particular class, please identify yourself as such because we like to know.
“I wish this was all different,” I said to myself.
I stuck my face against the pane of glass and stared down 7th street toward the tall building with shiny glass. Buses screeched to a stop as bicyclists darted in and out of traffic, risking life and limb.
At 5 o’clock, the phone rang, as usual. “Mercedes how are you?” asked my mother in her automatic, check on your daughter to see if she if she’s doing her homework, kind of way.
I watched the taxis stampede like buffalos around the corner, jockeying for position at the next light. “I’m fine,” I said, pushing my math book aside and not really feeling fine at all.
Trucks pushed themselves into the small parking lot at Olympicia, trying to get their grocery store deliveries off quickly before Bogota rush hour brought everything to a complete halt.
Mother sounded like she was typing at the computer. “I’m working late this evening.”
“Again? Is it work or him?” I said, trying not to roll my eyes.
I heard her huff into the phone. “Valentino called me. He’s showing the big apartment overlooking the park. If he sells that apartment it would mean a huge commission for all of us. I need to put down the deposit for you at school next year.”
I looked around our fancy apartment. Beautiful antiques, a stunning view of Carrera 7 and the lovely view of the distant mountains. None of it reflected the zero balance at the bank. As far as I knew, we were mostly broke.
“Maybe you could ask Andreś to pay my tuition? That’s his job,” I said sullenly.
She paused. I could tell my comments made her angry. “You are my job. If he wants to give a little gift, fine, but I’m not asking him for anything.”
Andreś was the constant ‘he’ in our apartment. He was my father. He was married to someone else. He was who my mother loved. As far as I was concerned, he was just a sperm donor.
Then, I heard a stapler. “How was school today?” she asked. Again, I could hear things shifting on her desk. The subject of ‘he’ closed.
“Good,” I said, trying to change up my adjectives. My life existed around poised white lies. It’s not like I could explain how my loneliness grew when she was busy trying to get the attention of a man who didn’t love either one of us.
I didn’t have friends either, unless you consider Maruja, our maid. I longed for someone my own age who wouldn’t consider me poisonous. “I’ll tell Maruja to save dinner tonight for you.”
I exhaled and said the words she wanted to hear. “Really, it’s okay. Everything is fine.”
My mother chirped, “I promise not to be so late. Ciou!”
What if one day I wouldn’t say it? How long would she wait?
Maruja, stuck her head into the room. “Let me guess, your mother and uncle are running late.”
I nodded. I bet mother would sit in her office all night waiting for my father to call.
(How to enter to win a signed copy of Illegal: Because Illegal deals with the issue of illegal immigrants, Bettina is interested in knowing whether this is an issue where you live: Does your area of the country have issues with illegal immigrants? Answer in your comment, along with your name and city and state to be elligible to win one of five signed copies of Illegal, winner to be announced on Bettina's website on or about April 1, 2011. Please visit her website for more details. And good luck!).