The Spanish Club

Young Adult - Coming of Age
290 Pages
Reviewed on 04/28/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Spanish Club is a young adult coming of age novel written by Danielle Burnette. This summer's Spanish Club trip to Mexico is a bittersweet one for high school juniors Brianna and her best friend, Dana. Brianna is stunned and at a loss at the discovery, just before the trip, that she is adopted. She feels betrayed by the people that she always thought of as her family and doesn't know who she is anymore. Dana is going back to live with her mom and dad and won't be returning to St. Francis next fall, which alternately thrills and scares her. The seven students in the club also do not seem terribly compatible as a group; their only common interest being the Spanish language. Katie and Lil' Bit are self-absorbed twins, and Winston Welch is a geek. Stacia's bubbly and irrepressible and a fellow member of the Dance Team with Brianna. She's also the friend of Enrique, who's been Brianna's secret crush since she was a freshman three years before. Dana feels threatened by Brianna's growing friendship with Stacia, and she's determined to crush any feelings Brianna has for Enrique.

Danielle Burnette's The Spanish Club is a glorious coming of age novel that explores friendship, identity and romance while celebrating the history and culture of Mexico. This inspired and most impressive debut novel follows the Spanish Club and their teacher chaperones as they explore the antiquities and cultural landmarks of Mexico. I enjoyed reading about their tour as Miguel, their tour guide, shows them the pyramids, museums, and historical ruins, and I began to wish I was there to run up the hundreds of pyramid stairs along with the Club to see the countryside spread out below me. Brianna is a marvelous character whose coming of age transfigures her, but the magic happens to each and every member of the Spanish Club as they learn to see past their differences and become a supportive and caring group of friends. The Spanish Club is a grand and enthralling work that succeeds on so many different levels. It's an awesome coming of age novel that's most highly recommended.