Cover Image: Becoming Beatriz

Becoming Beatriz

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Saying that this is a historical fiction book makes me sort of cringe because I was born in 1984, but it is a compelling read that highlights an often-forgotten culture of that time period. I was a little irked with the only gay representation was the murdered brother in the beginning of the novel. It would have been nicer to see a more balanced cast, but I understand it's a lot to do in one book. The dancing, while a large part of Beatriz's life wasn't described in as much detail or beauty as I would have liked. Overall it felt like a bit of an uneven read. It had a lot of good qualities, but some of the weaker elements outshined the overall success of the writing. I would recommend this to my students with reservations.
Was this review helpful?
Very forgettable. Even though I read this recently, I feel as though all of the details are fuzzy and it just wasn't something I enjoyed reading very much. I would be willing to read more of the author's work if by chance this was just a case of being unable to connect with the story.
Was this review helpful?
This was an absolutely engaging read about dreams, love, and family. I recommend this moving novel if you like your books to be more on the realistic side.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book so much.  It's different than Charles's last novel but enjoyed it just the same .
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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”.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?