The Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie 5 of 5 stars.
After her father's death from cancer, Carlie's mother is forced to sell their cherished oceanfront home and move the family to dreaded Las Pulgas. At her tough new urban high school, Carlie is nicknamed "Princess" because of her aloof attitude. But what her classmates don't know is that Carlie's in mourning for everything that mattered to her. In their uncomfortable new environment, her younger brother Keith becomes angrier by the day, and even their cat Quicken goes missing, sending Carlie and Keith to search for her beside their seedy garden apartment complex. They're soon accosted by a rifle-toting cowboy who ejects them at gunpoint from his property. But when Carlie finds him amiably having coffee with their mom the next day, she begins to realize that in Las Pulgas, nothing is what it seems. (Book blurb)
Carlie's life used to contain all of the comforts a beach front home and amazing school could offer, but after her father's slow fight with cancer ends she finds the rest of her life falling down around her. When Carlie's mom is forced to move her and her brother to shady part of town in a small run-down apartment Carlie is swept from her charmed life into a sharp-edged high school and the heady world of Othello.
While trying to "become" Desdemona, figure out how to keep her old friends away from her new home, and prove to a certain infuriating Othello, Carlie must also deal with a terrible guilt that has been dogging her since before her father even died. With so much craziness, it is no wonder that Carlie's family seems to be falling apart.
The Princess of Las Pulgas is the charming and heartbreaking tale of a young girl who has been torn from everything she'd ever known. I both laughed and cried as I read Carlie's beautifully told story. From loss to love and back again, it is undeniably inspirational to watch Carlie grow through the experiences that are changing her life.
I've been wanting to read one of C. Lee McKenzie's books for a long time now, and I was far from disappointed. The story was so well written and engrossing that I read it in nearly one sitting and then immediately afterward read the majority of it again.
The characters were my favorite part. Carlie is definitely an extremely lovable and relateable main character as she loses her preconceived notions about the dreaded Las Pulgas and grows to love the people in her high school. Her friend Sean was also a bit of added texture to the story. His sweet and brotherly nature always made me smile. And then there is Anthony's character. I could almost wish for a story told from his point of view. I always kind of felt sorry for him. But my favorite was the Mexican Othello, AKA the "infuriating" Juan. I couldn't help but hope that Carlie would end up with him.
I would suggest this book to anyone, truly. Whether you typically care for realistic fiction or not. C. Lee McKenzie's writing could charm anyone. As the first book I read in 2011, it was an AMAZING start!
To order The Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie from Amazon.com, please click here.
C. Lee McKenzie
Top 10 Favorite Places
"Wow. The most difficult thing in the world for me is to rank favorites. At least you didn’t ask me to do books because that’s totally impossible. So about the places in the world I love from best to least:
Home, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA. That’s my all time favorite place. If it wasn’t I’d have to move.
Turkey, especially the old part of Istambul and Fethya: I’ve been there several times and never get enough of that beautiful, east-west, ancient country.
Italian Alps: I think this is one fabulous place for people who love to hike. My family is from little towns called Bellinzona and Revecchia near Lake Lugano, so when I go there I feel like it’s a second home.
Nicaragua: I love beaches without crowds.
Hong Kong: I love taking the Star ferry to Kowloon and the hikes up to the top of the mountain and over to Aberdeen to see the junks and eat fresh fish.
Seville, Espana: It has such beauty, the people are generous with food and hospitality, I can’t get enough of the Alhambra.
The Cotswolds in England: Beautiful and endless paths that take you through some of the most unspoiled country I’ve ever seen, yet allows you the luxury of an inn at the end of a long day’s hike.
Scotland: The lochs, the Viking castles that seem to be around every corner, the Hebrides where the only access are the ferries (I seem to like the idea of ferries.) Again long and beautiful walks. Have to admit I’m not fond of Haggis, but then neither are a lot of Scots!
San Francisco: It’s close to home. It has so many districts to explore: China Town, Little Italy, Castro, Union Square with all the shops and glitter. I never get tired of exploring San Francisco.
London. It is the most kinetic and exciting city and it only comes later in my list because it’s a city, and I favor more open spaces, but when I’m in the mood for plays or museums or some wild night life, London pops into my head."-C. Lee McKenzie
Thanks to the fabulous author for sharing this and also to the Teen Book Scene for allowing me to participate in this blog tour!