Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review: Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz: A Quinceanera Club Novel by Belinda Acosta

Review of Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz: A Quinceanera Club Novel by Belinda Acosta

At the start of Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz, we meet fourteen year old Carmen and her young mother Ana Ruiz. Ana struggles to handle her recent separation from her husband, the demands of her work, and her daughter Carmen's increasing volatility. Carmen blames her mother for her parents' separation and doesn't hesitate to tell her so. Ana suggests the quinceanera as a way to breach the growing divide, but Carmen doesn't seem interested in the quinceanera and takes every opportunity to exclude her mother. It is fortunate that Ana's niece Bianca steps up to act as peacekeeper and party planner. Carmen's older brother Diego, also plays a big role keeping the peace as he comes to terms with his father's absence.

The planning and the quinceanera serve as a backdrop to the ongoing family drama of Ana and her husband Esteban, their children Carmen and Diego, the lovely Bianca, and the rest of their family.


Before I started Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz, I had suspected that the book would spend much of its time with teenagers and their concerns. It was a delightful surprise to find that the novel followed the mother Ana Ruiz and not the daughter Carmen.

Belinda Acosta's writing is funny, heartwarming and touching at the same time. The characters are carefully and sympathetically drawn - you can't help but care for each of them. I particularly enjoyed reading about the close friendship between Ana Ruiz and her childhood friend, Bianca and her love for her family, Diego and his kindness towards his mother.

Belinda Acosta does a wonderful job giving you each person's story and hinting at how things work out for them in the future. The book was beautifully done - and I am so looking forward to the next in the series. I plan to give my copy to my mother and hope that she enjoys it as much as I did.

Note: There are a few Spanish phrases in the novel. I had a few semesters of Spanish close to twenty years ago and recall very little, but you don't need any knowledge of Spanish to understand the few phrases sprinkled in the book. You can make out the expressions from their context in the book. Enjoy!

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (August 11, 2009), 336 pages.
Courtesy of Hatchette Books Group.

Thank you so much to Miriam and Hatchette Books Group!

Dar at Peeking Between the Pages has a giveaway for Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz until the end of August - visit to sign up. Please mention that I'd referred you.

Drey's Library
is holding a giveaway for Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz until 8/27 visit Please mention that I'd referred you.

This Book For Free
is holding a giveaway for Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz until 9/10 visit Please mention that I'd referred you.


  1. I really enjoyed this novel although I would have liked a little bit of a Spanish dictionary at times. lol. Great story though.

  2. What a beautiful cover! This sounds like a book I'd enjoy, great review!

  3. Gaby,

    Thanks for the review. I've linked it on the front page. Looking forward to reading your Summer Madness prize book review.