Rose presents characters in crisis, whose stories are personal, rather than broadly representative, and the book is better for it. Ultimately, this is a story about code switching, and about the different skill sets and assumptions required for complex cross-cultural and cross-class situations. An interesting first novel that treats its complex characters with unusual dignity.
—School Library Journal
Rose convincingly depicts Jacinta’s struggles as she explores aspects of upper-middle-class culture—French and gymnastics lessons, theater and ballet performances—while coping with the instability and grimness of barrio life and desperately missing her mother…A moving portrayal of a girl’s effort to embrace both her Mexican roots and the possibilities of American life, as well as an affecting look at an important contemporary issue.
This smart debut is a poignant exploration of cultural variations and family ties through the eyes of a lovable and funny narrator. Timely in its look at the plight of undocumented immigrants and their American-born children, it is a story of empowerment against the shadows of life in the barrio.
Jacinta’s story gives readers insight into the world of immigrant families and their difficult lives: the fear of discovery, the poverty, distrust of anyone who is not Mexican.
I loved "Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco" for its passionate story telling and unflagging integrity. I kept on turning the page thinking there’s no way the author can sustain the tension and feeling without resorting to cliches and sentimentality, but somehow she does.
A valiant effort that wrestles with important, complex themes.