Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Monday, May 20, 2019


by Nina Moreno
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 14th 2019
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷1/2

Don't Date Rosa Santos immediately caught my eye because of the lovely cover. I got to buddy read it with Lauren, and we had a good time reading and discussing it. I loved how much heart, culture, and personality was in this book.

Rosa was a character who was just bursting of all these different colors. There was so much to her personality and I enjoyed getting to know each and every facet of her. On the cusp of her high school graduation, she is juggling with quite a bit. She has to decide where she will go to college and also help the town raise money to save her beloved marina. She is so passionate about wanting to connect more with her Cuban side. She wants to physically go to Cuba so she can understand herself and her heritage better, but she knows her grandmother and her mother would not be happy with her decision. For most of the book, she grapples with trying to get more in touch with her Cuban side as she feels that she is missing out living in the US. She comes to many revelations throughout the novel and it was all very fulfilling watching her bloom into an even more wonderful young woman. The secondary cast in Don't Date Rosa Santos is vast. I will admit that besides Rosa's mother and her grandmother, I could not keep the other characters straight as there were so many of them. I don't think it was a detriment to my enjoyment of this book, but I did wish I got to know everyone as much as I got to know Rosa.

Don't Date Rosa Santos also has a very sweet romance between Rosa and a swoony young baker named Alex. It wasn't at the forefront of this book, but it was just the perfect addition to this story and meshed so well with the writing. As you can imagine, the themes of kinship and family were at the heart of this story and they were written so brilliantly. I could tell that the bond between these characters was indestructible and I loved that we not only got to see how enriching family can be but also how frustrating they can be as well. For me, that was the highlight of the book. I also loved the history of the curse and Rosa and her family's connection to the ocean. It added a magical element to the book, in my opinion. There was also a really fun treasure hunt! Pacing-wise, I will say that I did wish that the events of the last half of the book occurred earlier so that they wouldn't feel as rushed as they did because they were important to Rosa's story. I almost feel like the book could have done with a few more pages. That being said, this book was still a treat to read.

Don't Date Rosa Santos is an excellent debut novel! Nina Moreno is a very promising author that I will keep my eye out for. This is the sort of book I definitely recommend to anyone who loves a good contemporary novel with loads of great themes!

What are some good YA novels you've read with a diverse cast this year?
Let me know in the comments below!

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