Cover Image: Alondra


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Member Reviews

Alondra is such a fun and unique coming-of-age story. It follows Alonda (wrestling persona: Alondra), who joins a group of teens who are working to create a memorable wrestling show on Coney Island. I've never cared much about professional wrestling, but this really drew me in. Alonda's journey of self-discovery paralleled with figuring out her stage persona is really well written. It was super interesting to read about the fight choreography and the plot lines everyone was creating for their characters. There's so much physicality and creativity that goes into professional wrestling and I loved reading about it. There's also a great sapphic romance, which felt sweet and natural. 

I also want to mention that this was first a stage play and I can so see that. It's such a fun setup for that, and I'd love to see it sometime. I love theatre the voices teenage girls with honesty and depth, and Alondra definitely does that.
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Such a fun and adorable queer YA novel! I loved the tie in with wrestling to her personal growth, the romance, the dynamic character arcs, and the exquisite writing style.
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This was certainly a unique storyline! I really enjoyed the main character's voice and persona, and the navigation of relationships and identity.
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I liked this story, I wish I would’ve gotten more from other characters. But overall, you can’t help but root for Alondra, and this representation is much needed! Boxing is a big deal and the representation is much needed in stories!
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I loved reading this book. Although I knew what I was getting into from the synopsis, it was still a surprising read!
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Thank you to HearOurVoices Tours, NetGalley, the author, and publisher for the advance copy of this book. Award winning playwright Gina Femia brings us a debut YA contemporary novel about a bisexual teen grappling with her mother’s passing, a new living situation, new friendships, love, and coming to terms with her sexual identity. This was such a good read and the author’s writing was so poetic.

Alondra gave me so many nostalgic vibes as I used to love watching wrestling when I grew up. The love of the sport allowed Alonda to find a group of friends who accepted her for just who she is. When feelings arise for 2 of her new friends, will Alonda allow the box in her heart that she’s kept locked to explore if there could be more and if so with whom? 

I am so happy that the youth of today have so much diversity and representation in literature that I did not have in the late 90s & early 2000s. There was such a diverse friendship group and the banter between them was so much fun to read. I liked that even though Alonda’s mother passed away a decade ago that the author showed that grief is not linear. It showed that it natural to deal with grief no matter how much time has passed. I wholeheartedly appreciate that the bisexual representation as it was displayed. It wasn’t shown as someone being confused as it in shown some times. The author did an excellent job showcasing it for exactly what it is. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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Alonda Rivera is a Nuyorican Coney Island native who lives with her deceased mother’s best friend, Teresa. On the precipice of the summer before her senior year of high school, she finds herself longing for both friendship and a physical outlet for all of the frustrations that naturally come along with puberty, first love(s), self-identity, and the loss of a parent. It’s just her luck that she notices the ragtag team of teens around her age practicing wrestling on the playground near her apartment building. As she starts regularly hanging out with King, Lexi, Spider, and Pretzel, Alonda gets to tap into her favorite hobby, challenge herself both mentally and physically, and discovers truths about herself that she’d grown comfortable with ignoring.

Although Alonda’s story isn’t solely focused on her coming out as bisexual, her self-exploration and identity are at play at all times throughout the novel. She acknowledges that her feelings have always been a part of her, something she’d relegated to a box in her chest that she locked away, but she never fully understood them. This novel does a great job of pacing this part of Alonda’s journey while running it parallel with her growing confidence and courage in her everyday life. 

I personally connected with this story in ways I didn’t expect given that I’m not into wrestling the way my girl Alonda is, but Gina crafted a very true-to-life character along with a beautifully diverse cast of found family and community. Although I’ve never been to Coney Island, it felt alive to me, like it was a character in and of itself. This is a great book to share with any teens in your life who may be comforted by the story a young girl who learns new ways to be strong and authentic to herself. This is definitely a book I needed to read when I was younger.

(Actual rating 4.5)
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This debut YA novel by Gina Femia was such a treat to read! 

Alonda and her friends are so into wrestling that they’re spending their summer in Coney Island starting an amateur wrestling troupe!

Now, I don’t know much about wrestling, but the author did an excellent job describing it so I could picture everything clearly while I was reading.

This book has beautiful bisexual representation…the reader goes on the journey with Alonda as she figures out her sexuality. I have to think that so many young queer readers will see themselves in the pages of this book.

Lastly, this book really redefines family. We learn early on that Alonda lost her mother when she was seven and has been raised by her mom’s best friend, Teresa. The relationship between Alonda and Teresa is challenging at times but so beautiful.

The quote I took away from the book is this one: “Sometimes you just gotta look long enough to see something more clearly.”

A beautiful message from a stunning book. I highly recommend checking it out!
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I really enjoyed this book! It follows Alonda, a bisexual teenager who loves professional wrestling. So when she meets a group of teens with aspirations of wrestling fame in her Coney Island neighborhood, she couldn't be happier. This book talks about friendship, community, family, and self-discovery, and it does it in an excellent way.

I liked the simple friendships that formed between Alonda and the other member of the group. There are two in particular that she creates a stronger bond with, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the love triangle that was lowkey going on, but I'm not actually mad at all, I liked the way it was done. I also appreciated the relationship between Alonda and Teresa, who is the person who took care of her after her mother passed away years before, I liked the way she showed herself and seeing the love and affection they have for each other.

There’s also something really comforting about this book. Maybe it was the summer vibes, the people just having normal lives and doing average things, but somehow it gave me a sense of peace. I realized how refreshing it is to see teenagers having fun. Living the moment. Not everything has to turn into a big thing and that's okay, they're allowed to do things just because. The wrestling part was written in an entertaining way and I enjoyed reading about it, even if I don't fully understand the sport.

In the end, there's this kind of uncertainty about what will happen to them after the summer, whether they'll stick together or drift apart, I think this was realistic and even if it's sad to think about it, you’re left with the knowledge that it was good while it lasted.

I think one of my only complaints is that I wish we had more background on the side characters. We really only see them interacting with Alonda, but we don't know much about them otherwise.

Overall, I would describe this book as fun and heartwarming; just vibes which i really appreciate.
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Alonda Rivera loves wrestling; she lives and breathes wrestling. She can tell you all the stats about every pro wrestler, breakdown the trickiest of wrestling ring moves, and go on and on about why John Cana is amazing but not her favorite wrestler. A seventeen-year-old Coney Island native, Alonda is living with her mom’s best friend, tying to stave off the brutal Brooklyn heat, when she sees a group of teenagers—all high schoolers like her—wrestling with each other in the neighborhood playground. She gathers the courage to approach them, and soon enough, she’s joining them in orchestrating matches and practicing fights for their live show.

Alonda still feels like an outsider sometimes—King, Lexi, Spider, and Pretzel have known each other forever—but she also knows that she’s a solid part of their troupe now. Finally having a group of friends is nice, and it’s especially nice to catch the attention of the often bristly but incredibly attractive leader of their circle, King. But deep in Alonda’s heart is a box. A box she’s kept hidden and locked up for as long as she can remember. A box that’s starting to rattle whenever Lexi comes near. What secrets will she uncover about herself on her journey from Alonda to Alondra: The Fearless One? 

A beautiful coming(out)-of-age novel about a bisexual teenager’s self-discovery, ALONDRA is a YA contemporary debut that discusses not just wrestling lore and sexual identity, but also gentrification, community, and the love one can get from their found families. As a bisexual woman of color, Alonda’s journey— from boxing up confusing feelings, to learning about bisexuality, to understanding and accepting it as a part of herself—deeply resonated with me.

Many thanks to Hear Our Voices Tours and Fierce Reads for my gifted copy of ALONDRA: a must-read, regardless of your interest in wrestling and bisexuality!
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Thank you Hear Our Voices Tours and Gina Femia for sending me an E-ARC for this tour! 😊
Alondra is Gina’s debut novel and I think it was such a classic contemporary YA read! I was really able to get a good sense of the atmosphere of the book and felt very immersed at times. I think because of this I was easily able to make a mood board for the vibes of the book. This is such a fun summer read surrounding a group of kids forming an amateur wrestling company. 🤼‍♀️ I definitely got all the summer vibes reading and can’t wait for the warmer weather. I also really enjoyed the bisexual love triangle we got in this book and am very happy with the MC, Alonda’s choice. 💖💜💙 Also you may think I misspelled the character’s name based on the name of the book but that is her wrestling name and the name her mother originally planned to name her. I think it was such a sweet detail 🥹! I also really loved the relationship between Alonda and her guardian, Teresa who is her late mother’s best friend, while strained at times the two really love each other so much. At first when reading I thought the two were sisters and just had a big age gap, but I was mistaken. However, I do see Teresa as an older sister figure to Alonda and just overall loved how their relationship developed through the book. I also felt that Alonda had a normal life and didn’t have an exaggerated lifestyle and endless amounts of money like some YA books tend to portray. This really helped me connect with Alonda and the other characters in the book. 
I have a few critiques as I felt the story would jump around a bit at times and start in the middle of a scene at times, but this did make for a fast-paced book which I appreciated. A few times slang would be used outside of dialogue and it would take me out of the story just a bit but I really enjoyed it in the dialogue as it made it flow and seem like an actual conversation. I also think as someone who doesn't know much about wrestling I wasn't able to connect to Alonda 100% but that doesn't mean everyone won’t! Just due to these, I docked it half a star. But I know this is going to be an all-time favorite read for someone else! 😊 I still really enjoyed reading and can see myself reading another book by Gina in the future! Overall Alondra is a very solid queer, sporty, summer, YA contemporary read and if you're looking for anything of that sort, I would recommend it. 🥰
Alondra by Gina Femia comes out on April 18th!
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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was a really cute coming of age story about 16 year old Alonda. Alonda absolutely loves wrestling. While trying to keep cool her attention is caught by a group of friend practicing wrestling moves at the nearby playground. Only they never really get anything accomplished due to them not having enough people. The group consists of King ( The leader), Lexi ( The artist), and Spider (the pretty boy). After getting into the crew Alonda soon deals with having feelings for both King and Lexi. 

I surprisingly enjoyed this book. At first I was lost by the title and the characters name but it is explained in the story. It was different to see the grieving process through the eyes of a teenager which I appreciated. I was unsure about Jim but he turned out to be an ally to Alonda. I did appreciate the relationship between Alonda and Teresa. She cared for her and you could tell that she really loved Alonda and accepted the responsibility of being her care giver. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. 

Thank you to NetGalley, MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
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There's something so familiar about  summertime, coming of age stories, and despite knowing little about wrestling and never visiting New York, I felt at home in this story. Alonda is someone you love and root for, as she grows from shy and quiet to big and bold and brave. While not the main focus of the story, I also loved her journey of coming out as bisexual. Seeing her gather courage from others online as well as being surrounded by LGBTQ friends felt so real and wonderful.
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This book is the story about Alonda/Alondra discovering herself and her passions over one summer. Alonda joins a group of 4 friends and wrestles with them over the summer. Together, they train and perform while becoming closer friends. This book has themes of love, loss, family, friends, sexuality, and of course wrestling. This book has bisexual representation, although that is not the main focus of the book. The characters are likable and develop deep relationships with one another. For a Young Adult novel, the teenage characters felt very real and accurate to how actual teenagers behave. This is a good debut novel and I cannot wait to see Gina's future books.

3.5/5 Stars
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I was scared that I was going to be confused because my best friend's name is Alondra, but thankfully that's not even her name so it eliminated the confusion. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book. There is a pretty large cast of characters and i really enjoyed all of them. Alonda's love for wrestling and just her character in general was something that I haven't seen in YA recently. The dialogue felt natural and Alonda's discovery about her sexuality was never the main plot, but it felt like a very strong undercurrent under the story. Overall, I really liked this book!!
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Thank you, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), for allowing me to read Alondra early.

Alondra was a very enjoyable reading experience. I always appreciate seeing more bisexual representation on page.
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this was a great young adult novel by Gina Femia, it was what I was hoping for from the description. The plot worked so well for a young adult book. I was hooked from the beginning to the end, it worked as a coming-of-age story and I was glad I was able to read this. The characters were interesting and I was invested in what was happening to them. I look forward to read more Gina Femia.

"Is it okay, do you think it’ll be okay?” Alonda asked, ignoring him. Jim didn’t say nothing, just led her over to the kitchen and snapped on an overhead light so he could see better. He turned her arm around in his hands while she waited with bated breath, her knee bouncing with nerves and trying not to panic all at the same time."
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