The Other Half of Happy

Hardcover

Quijana is a girl in pieces.

One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana's Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn't know more about her family's heritage. One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she's found true friends. But she can't help the growing feelings she has for Jayden.
One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what's going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother.
In the course of this immersive and beautifully written novel, Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole. This lyrical debut from Rebecca Balcárcel is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.

Rebecca Balcárcel received the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, and her work has appeared in journals such as the North American Review. She is an associate professor of English at Tarrant County College. She lives in Bedford, Texas.

  • 2020 Pura Belpré Honor Book  
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection  
  • ALSC Notable Children’s Book   
  • 2019 Deirdre Siobhan FlynnBass Award for Best Middle Grade Book 
  • 2020 Spirit of Texas Reading Program Recommended Title   

Balcárcel's well-rounded characters, complex friendships, and nuanced family dynamics will resonate with many readers. This is a title that will remain relevant long past its publication date. A must-have for all library collections. -- School Library Journal, starred review

A lovely, moving, and realistic view of the struggles and insecurities--as well as the beauty--that comes from being bicultural.-- Booklist, starred review

Rebecca Balcárcel has written a powerful story that seeps into the spaces where language and heritage meet family and new discoveries. The Other Half Of Happy strikes all the right chords, bridging a gap and stretching open arms to readers looking for home in both familiar and unfamiliar places. Bravely told, with notes of vulnerability, brevity, and hope, this is a story that invites quiet courage to speak love, regardless of your native language. -- Beth Hautala, author of The Ostrich and Other Lost Things





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