Cover Image: Becoming Beatriz

Becoming Beatriz

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Member Reviews

I lost interest in this book after my taste changed. I haven't read it, but am thankful for the publisher to have given me the chance to read and review it.
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This story centers around Beatriz, an Afro-Latinx girl who wants to be a professional dancer. When her brother gets shot during the fight of an on-going gang war, Beatriz's plans for her future change drastically.
Beatriz becomes involved with the gang and starts drug dealing as well. She never really wanted any part of this gang but she very much felt like this is what her brother would've wanted and she wants to carry on his legacy.

This book was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it for the most part.
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I enjoyed this book so much.  It's different than Charles's last novel but enjoyed it just the same .
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2.8 stars

If you like books like Run Baby Run, The queen of the South, The Hate You Give , you may like this book.

The story was well written and entertaining but, unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations.

I was SOOOO looking forward to this book! Latin rep, urban setting, gangs...

And in a way I did get all that. It was action packed, that's for sure and that's why I say it's very entertaining. 

But, I didn’t get to know or connect with Beatriz. I didn't feel to me that she wasn’t given agency. No goals and no dreams of her own. No motivations to drive her. Most of the story Beatriz was just reacting to what’s happening to her

I also never felt fully grounded in the story. I was thrown into this gang vendetta with no backstory whatsoever so I had to go and check if I was reading a sequel. And, nope. I was not a sequel.

Also, the Latin rep seemed a little off to me. I even wen to read the author's bio because I wasn't sure it was an own-voices. I didn't find anywhere that is was own-voices. And, I wholeheartedly A story like this SHOULD BE own-voices.
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Becoming Beatriz is a YA Historical Fiction that drew me in because of the themes of dance and grief, which are both aspects that I really enjoy reading about. And while this novel ended up offering so much more than that, it was all sadly dampened by an instance of the bury-your-gays trope.

This story centers around Beatriz, an Afro-Latinx girl whose biggest dream it is to become a professional dancer. When her brother gets shot during the fight of an on-going gang war, Beatriz's plans for her future change drastically.
After Junito's death, Beatriz becomes involved with the gang and starts drug dealing as well. She never really wanted any part of this gang but she very much felt like this is what her brother would've wanted and she wants to carry on his legacy.

Now I will say that I did enjoy this novel. It had a lot of elements that I thought were very well done and I will definitely get more into them. But first, let me talk about the bury-your-gays trope, sadly something that somehow still exists in this day and age.

We find out in this novel that Junito was gay and there is a discussion on how this was not accepted by their dad and was the reason that they left Puerto Rico. This novel does not feature any other gay character. Junito is literally the only prominently featured gay character in this entire book and he only shows up in the beginning to get shot and in some flashbacks, some of which have to do with him asking if he should change (read: not be gay) in order to please his dad.

The more I sit on this aspect, the worse I feel about it. I enjoyed this novel all the way through and I think it had so many wonderful and important things in it but the fact that the entire storyline, and with that Beatriz's entire development, basically ends up happening because of the death of a gay biracial guy? It just leaves you with such a bad feeling.

Junito's storyline, the struggle with him not being accepted by his dad, and even Beatriz's thought process regarding Junito and his sexuality, could've had a really important impact if only he wasn't the only character. Instead we also have to hear how Beatriz blamed Junito for having to leave Puerto Rico too and how she wished Junito would've changed. She eventually comes to realize that that kind of thinking is not okay but it just all feels really bad.

Now I will say that I think Beatriz's journey with grief and trauma was well done. Beatriz stopped dancing after her brother's death, not only because she felt like she could no longer arrange it when she becomes part of the gang, but also because she was practising Salsa with Junito for her quinceañera when he got shot, so there is a lot of trauma involved. I loved seeing her re-discover her passion for dance and coming back to her roots while healing.

We also have another journey of grief depicted in the form of Beatriz's mum, who is so affected by her son's death that she no longer speaks and relies on other people to help with daily tasks. This is a really intense part of the story but I loved Beatriz caring for her mum and sharing her own progress with her, which helps her mother with healing too.

This book also had one of the softest male love interests ever and I always wish we had more of those. The development of the relationship between Beatriz and Nasser was so very wonderful to read about, although definitely a little bit quick.

Overall, while I think this book did many good things, I just cannot overlook the use of the bury-your-gays trope, especially in the context of this particular story. So sadly, I just cannot recommend this book wholeheartedly but I really think that it could've done a lot.

Trigger and Content Warnings for drug dealing, death, loss of a loved one, homophobia and bury-your-gays, violence, gangs, blood.
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Dance was my life growing up, so this one totally caught my attention - I mean does it get ANY better than getting praise from dancing QUEEN Debbie Allen?! So this title was a must-read for me, and as a former dancer and coach, I would have LOVED to have been able to recommend this to my young adults when I was! 

Beatriz was a GREAT character, and I thought her story was relatable for so many - the struggles often faced by families and how incredibly well done each culture was portrayed, truly a diverse voice we could definitely use more of!
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A solid YA novel that was a good purchase for my library. Students have read and enjoyed it, and I purchased it because of this review copy.
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This was such an impactful book that illustrates the diversity within the Latino community! I really enjoyed the 80s setting. Beatriz overcame so much in such a short time, and I admire her so much.
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I think that Becoming Beatriz was so heartbreakingly amazing. Being a Latina woman made this book more realistic for me. 
Some of the struggles that happened in this book, I could definitely relate to her. This book definitely made me shed a few tears and I’m so thankful that this book is out in the world. 
Thank you to the publisher for picking this book, and thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity.
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A nice historical fiction story of a young girl who aspires to dance and encounters tragedy that changes everything. 

Trigger warnings for: Gangs. Drugs. Death. Homophobia. Abuse.
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This is super weird, I had this book in my TBR for the latinx book bingo but never got to read it. And back in December I wanted to catch up on all my pending arcs but couldn't find it in my kindle and sadly my download in digital editions had expired. So I won't be able to read this and review it until I buy a copy for myself.
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Beatriz is a Diabla since age 12. At age 15, she loses her older brother Junito to a rival gang hit. This whole book chronicles her battles within herself to either step up as a Diabla or to step away. This has everything I want in a YA book: romance, hard-hitting topics, great characters that I care for and fantastic writing! I’m giving this book 5 stars for all these reasons. During the reading of this book, I had come to care for Beatriz and her family, at times became scared for her safety. This book also involved a mini mystery too! Although I come from a different background, I can see this books importance as it provides a voice for those in the Afro-Latinx community. It contains “diversity within diversity”.
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Becoming Beatriz is a novel about growing into yourself and pursuing the things you love. Our protagonist, Beatriz, is coming to turns with the murder of her older brother, her identity as an Afro-Latina girl living in New Jersey, and her passion to pursue dance. The author does a wonderful job at building up Beatriz' community and the poverty that she and her family live in. I believe there could have been a bit more depth to her grieving process, as this book seemed to change a little mid-way through to put more emphasis on Beatriz' school life. However, I loved the mystery element of the book, and the fact that it's set in the 80s! 
I'm excited to see what Tami Charles does next.
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There's a lot to appreciate about this book: the look on being biracial and the discrimination found in minority groups, the coming of age story, etc. However, in a way, I wish it was a bit longer to flesh things out a tiny bit more. In the end, I couldn't really connect to the story or the characters or the romance or her dancing. I wish things had time to suck me in and invest me.
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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was such a beautiful story. I just got wrapped up in these characters. Such a fascinating story.
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If your favoured reading material is a compelling tale with a good sprinkling of family, relationships, romance, gang life, loss, hopes and dreams, then Becoming Biatriz by Tami Charles is a must-read for you! 
 
From the get-go there was so much happening in this wonderful YA romance! Biatriz was a superb and engaging protagonist and I enjoyed  how she matured throughout the story. She was really likeable and the icing on the cake for me were the parts where Beatriz was dancing.

Her relationship with Nasser was sweet and the couple were good together in spite of their differences. Author, Tami Charles had really worked wonders with most of the characters in this fabulous story and even the less personable ones still had very good parts to play and did not dampen my enthusiasm for this fascinating tale.

I totally appreciated the diversity, its representation by Tami Charles and the realistic portrayal of gang and minority cultures, in general. I loved that the book was set in 1984 which was a special time for me, The plot was great and moved along at a really wicked pace and I was very comfortable with the author’s general writing-style. There were many issues highlighted such as identity, race, drugs, gang involvement and the risks people are willing to take to further their dreams. With some unexpected twists, I thoroughly enjoyed this exciting story, including the mystery surrounding the pictures that Beatriz received. 

Overall I think this book was a bit of a hidden gem.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Charlesbridge via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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Though I haven't read the author's previous book, I don't think it's necessary to enjoy this one; Beatriz's story is compelling enough in its own right. With dance books getting a minor spike in popularity, this book might catch the eye of those who want a gritty but hopeful story a bit more optimistic and less soapy than similar books on shelves.
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This book was trying me: bury your gays, victim-blaming, you’re not like the other girls... Sad because it has great discussions about what it means to be AfroLatinx but oh boy, not over the shoulders of Black gay kids. And I get that’s the point of the story, but it doesn’t help that Beatriz has zero regrets for what she has done.

I'm so disappointed because I was looking forward to Beatriz's redemption arc BUT her whole journey comes from the pain of the only gay Black characters in the book. And it's SO painful to read.

Fair, I didn't finish the book, maybe it makes up for all the violence against its gay characters, but I'm not sure it will. And I don't trust Tami. There were so many different ways to deal with gang and violence and toxic masculinity than doing this.
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In a startling beginning to her novel Becoming Beatrix, Tami Charles introduces the reader to Beatrix when she spots a wishmaker flower in a crack of the sidewalk as she thrusts her body to the ground and presses her face to the pavement. Her wishing will not take away the turf war that leaves her brother Junito dead and her mother mute in grief. Nor will wishing assuage her guilt for what has happened or take away her feeling of responsibility to her brother’s gang.

In 1984 New Jersey, Beatrix almost loses track of her own dreams afterwards of becoming a dancer and meeting her idol Debbie Allen on the set of her TV show Fame. Adding to her torn feelings, Beatrix tries to hide her involvement in the gang from her feisty Abuela, who arrives from Puerto Rico, believing she and her brother are still the “same good kids skipping rope and singing songs back in Aguadilla.” 
The ACT-SO arts contest put on by the NAACP restores Beatrix’s desire for dancing and adds complications as she is pulled to care for her mother, to attempt to extricate herself from the gang, and to hone her dancing skills back to a competitive level. Since she is fifteen, there is also romance in the picture, complicated by the fact that the boy is Haitian, like their rival gang.

The book is engaging and readable. The likeable Beatrix gives the reader understanding without ever becoming didactic about how easily one can get caught up in the drug culture and how difficult it is to leave.
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Such a good read. I love edgy books like these as I work in a community that has many of these issues. I think it should serve as inspiration for kids 6th grade up, even teens and young adults. What Beatriz experiences personally, I have seen played out on my occasions among the kids I work with. I've seen a few surmount their cultures, neighborhood, ad friends and families to achieve successful lives outside their communities, but not nearly enough. Too many get sucked in and stay. I am always looking for books like these to try and reach the kids. Well-written and addictive story. I think it would make a good book for any population, not just the inner city kids. great story!
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