The Girl with No Sol

Young Adult - Coming of Age
337 Pages
Reviewed on 01/26/2022
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Author Biography

Karen Vega is a Mexican American author. She finds inspiration for her writing from everyday life, just taking in all observations. The Girl with No Sol is her debut young adult fiction novel. Originally from a Chicago suburb, Karen now resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has a bachelor’s degree in music and plays many instruments, including the flute. In her free time, she enjoys drinking coffee and tea, meditating, being in nature, and spending time with family. You will most likely find her laughing in serious situations and at the most random things. Check out her website and social media @karenvegawrites

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Fifteen-year-old Kalamiti Sol lives a hard life with the members of The Crew, a group of young teenagers who commit petty crimes to survive on the streets of Chicago. However, her life turns upside down when she's sent to juvenile prison for stealing a car. After spending her sixteenth birthday in juvie, Kalamiti's grandmother, Nonna, picks her up and takes her to her home in San Jose, California. Soon, Kalamiti finds herself enrolled in high school, and after a period of acclimatization, shows particular expertise in playing the piano. When one of her best friends from The Crew, Lucas, returns to her life, she develops feelings she never thought she had before. The Girl with No Sol is a young adult slice-of-life novel by Karen Vega.

If well-written coming-of-age stories are some of your favorite books to read, you're going to love The Girl with No Sol. Author Karen Vega tells a grounded tale of a young teen's struggles with life on the streets and afterward her acclimatization into mainstream society that tugs at your heartstrings and keeps you riveted until the end. This is a character-driven drama that feels authentic because the narrative is layered and nuanced. Kalamiti is an immensely likable protagonist who doesn't take much time winning you over with her wit, charm, and kind heart. Her relationships with her friends and family provide the narrative thrust to the story. I particularly enjoyed the scenes involving Kalamiti, Lucas, and Nonna. The Girl with No Sol is a tale about growing up that I highly recommend to anyone who loves slice-of-life stories.

Tammy Ruggles

The Girl with No Sol, by Karen Vega, is a socially relevant and easily readable coming-of-age novel about what lies behind and beyond life on the street. The main character is Kalamiti Sol, and her story is told in the first-person POV, a great decision by the author since her style immediately brings you into the heart and mind of the main character. She lives on the Chicago streets with The Crew, which is a collection of her friends, and they do what they have to do to survive, including stealing, but things take a drastic legal turn when she steals a car and it lands her in juvenile court. Otherwise, she's the average teenager. Life takes an even sharper turn when Nonna, her grandmother, appears in her life and she moves to California.

Vega brings us a character we can relate to and root for, with an easy style and good way with dialogue. The story is about Kalamiti's challenges in high school, mysteries surrounding her family, and trying to find herself and find a path for her future. I like how deep the author goes into the psyche of the character, and her take on relationships, who she is, what she wants, and her search for belonging, of fitting in, and connection, which is what most teens long for. The author doesn't shy away from tough social issues, like depression, suicide, substance use, and sexual experiences. Her characters are realistic teens, not perfect and polished, and that will appeal to the YA audience. One of my favorite parts is when Kalamiti explains how hard it is to make new friends, and I think this will resonate with others. If you're looking for a socially conscious YA read that is also entertaining, don't miss The Girl with No Sol by Karen Vega.