Gabi, A Girl In Pieces

By: Isabel Quintero
Gabi’s a girl in pieces. She wants a lot of things. Will she find the thing she needs most?


July 24
My mother named me Gabriela, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn't want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it's important to wait until you're married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, "Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas." Eyes open, legs closed. That's as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don't mind it. I don't necessarily agree with that whole wait until you're married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can't tell my mom that because she will think I'm bad. Or worse: trying to be White.

Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.

Isabel Quintero was born and raised in Southern California. Her love of reading and writing comes from her mother reading to her before she went to bed, and from the teachers and professors who encouraged her to keep writing. Her love of chorizo and carne asada tacos comes from her dad grilling on Sundays during summertime. She is an elementary school library technician and loves sharing her passion for the written word with students. She also teaches community college part time and works as a freelance writer for the Arts Connection of San Bernardino. Quintero works as events coordinator for Orange Monkey Publishing and assistant editor for Tin Cannon, a literary journal. She still lives in SoCal and enjoys going on adventures with her wonderful husband, Fernando.

"In writing Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, I felt that music was important to the narrator because she is a poet, and poetry and music go hand in hand." From Lupe Fiasco to Bob Dylan to Cornelio Reyna, Isabel gives Laregehearted Boy's Book Notes her ultimate Gabi playlist here and offers readers an inside look into her personal connection to her main character: "I wrote this book because some of it is my story. In a lot of ways Gabi and I share the same issues; we both had (have) body image problems, a bicultural experience, a natural distaste for imposed gender roles, and confusion about sex and its role in our life. As I grew older, I realized I wasn't alone, and that the women who had had similar experiences, also felt alone throughout their teenage years."

Awards and Accomodations

Winner of the William C. Morris Award for YA Debut Novel
School Library Journal Best Books of 2014
Booklist Best Books of 2014
Amelia Bloomer List, part of the American Library Association, Social Responsibilities Round Table's Feminist Task Force
2015 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, Top 10 Selection
2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
2015 Tomàs Rivera Book Award, Works for Older Children
2015 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Grades 7-12
2015 Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
2014 California Book Award Gold Medal Winner, Young Adult Fiction

15 reviews for Gabi, A Girl In Pieces

  1. Kirkus Reviews
    Readers won’t soon forget Gabi, a young woman coming into her own in the face of intense pressure from her family, culture and society to fit someone else’s idea of what it means to be a “good” girl. A fresh, authentic and honest exploration of contemporary Latina identity.

  2. Booklist
    Reading Quintero’s debut is like attending a large family fiesta: it’s overpopulated with people, noise, and emotion, but the overall effect is joyous. —Daniel Kraus

  3. Publishers Weekly
    Quintero’s first novel quickly establishes a strong voice and Mexican-American cultural perspective through the journal of intelligent, self-deprecating, and funny Gabi.

  4. NPR Weekend Reads
    Gabi’s voice is a completely bicultural and bilingual voice, so throughout the novel, you will have Spanish and English the way it’s really spoken in our families — it’s this crazy sort of Spanglish mix. And she’s bold. She will say the quote-unquote unthinkable things about her body, about sexuality, about the crazy, dual sets of rules for Latino boys and girls. —Meg Medina

  5. The Guardian
    Told through Gabi’s diary, the book is tragic, hilarious, and always whip-smart. It’s also, I’m sure, one of the most diverse and all-encompassing YA novels out there. —John Hansen

  6. School Library Journal
    Believing she’s not Mexican enough for her family and not white enough for Berkeley, Gabi still meets every challenge head-on with vulgar humor and raw honesty… A refreshing take on slut- and fat-shaming, Quintero’s work ranks with Meg Medina’s Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Candlewick, 2013) and Junot Diaz’s Drown (Riverhead, 1996) as a coming-of-age novel with Latino protagonists. —Shelley Diaz

  7. VOYA Magazine
    While reflecting the specific experiences of one overweight, Mexican-American teenager, Quintero’s debut novel addresses a number of universal themes, from family relationships to sexual exploration. Gabi’s voice, as expressed in her diary through poetry, prose, lists, and overheard conversations, is funny, smart, full of wonder, and brutally honest. –Heather Christensen

  8. Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of California
    Meet Quintero’s “fat girl” Gabi, eating and starving and fighting and writing her way through the crushing pressures of high school boy desire, religious approval and Mexican cultural taboos. I cannot think of any book today for young adults as voracious, bold, truthful and timely.

    One of the year’s finest young adult novels.

  10. The Pirate Tree
    Quintero’s novel shows that some of the most interesting, innovative, and honest titles come from the small press world. … Award committees take note—this is an amazing novel from a bright new star. —Lyn Miller-Lachmann

  11. The Harold Sun
    The author creates a strong sense of character and realistically portrays Gabi’s challenging settings. The way [Isabel] Quintero portrays the heroine’s moment-to-moment moods feels completely authentic. —Susie Wild

  12. Literacy Daily
    California high school senior Gabriela (Gabi Hernanadez) is caught between not being Mexican enough and gravitating toward the things white girls do — at least according to her mother. To make sense of her world, she keeps a journal about her own struggles with self-esteem and related weight issues, also writing about her best friend Cindy’s pregnancy and her other best friend Sebastian’s coming out to his family. —Karen Hildebrand

  13. R.R.A.P. Magazine
    Gabi, A Girl in Pieces is a wonderful young adult piece that properly shows how to handle intersectional identities while still keeping the writing level superb. … I think this novel left me better than when I began it. —Brent Lambert

  14. Stacey Lewis, City Lights Publishers
    Wish this book had been around during my angsty youth, but at least you can pick it up now and revel in the author’s grace and humor in dealing with very heavy subject matter. Isabel Quintero reminds us of the transformative power of journal writing, as well.

  15. The Guardian
    Isabel Quintero’s young adult novel “Gabi: A Girl in Pieces” centers around a young, light-skinned Mexican-American girl. … Like Gabi, I feel I need to prove my identity all the time. —Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

You might also like....