Do you know what sucker-punches are? They're short books that pack a lot of punch. They can change a person within a matter of pages. They are epic and amazing and beyond awesome.... and Becoming Naomi Leon is one! 5 out of 5 stars!
Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan
5 out of 5 stars
Published in 2004
Summary from Goodreads: The highly anticipated new novel from the Pura Belpre and Jane Addams Peace Award-winning author of ESPERANZA RISING.Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw has had a lot to contend with in her young life, her name for one. Then there are her clothes (sewn in polyester by Gram), her difficulty speaking up, & her status at school as "nobody special." But according to Gram's self-prophecies, most problems can be overcome with positive thinking. Luckily, Naomi also has her carving to strengthen her spirit. And life with Gram & her little brother, Owen, is happy & peaceful. That is, until their mother reappears after 7 years of being gone, stirring up all sorts of questions & challenging Naomi to discover who she really is.
Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw is a girl of many layers. She's quiet, mousy and boring at first sight. Get to know her, and you'll realize she is actually so much more. She has the heart of a lion. She has a mind of courage. She is so much more than what you expect. She might only be in fifth grade, but she seems so much more mature. She is Naomi, and she is worthy of being called a heroine.
Owen is cute. What else can you expect from a little brother? He is called deformed by his mother, but I call him sweet and precious and optimistic and truly nice. Some brothers are annoying, but this brother is truly not! He has a heart of gold and a smart mind. I love how optimistic he is; he does not let anything or anyone get to him. He truly is nice by the way he thinks about people. While they might make fun of him, he still loves them. He truly loves his enemies.
As for Naomi's mother, I'm just going to say she has issues. I really dislike her to the point where it is almost hating. I honestly can not believe anyone could be as evil as her. She's the villain that at first seems like the good guy. At first I thought she would have a heart of gold, but I was wrong. She is a wretched monster, and everyone should dislike her. She is so selfish and messed up and mean, and did I mention messed up? I hate her to the point that I would probably start yelling stuff to her face...
This story is a quilt. Like a quilt, there are so many layers woven together flawlessly. Every event blends into each other to the point where you can not tell them apart. Every single event is tied to another, and it is done perfectly. I love how it is overwhelming, but not to the point where I get a headache.
The author probably is a poet. Every single word can be a single poem; it's just that beautiful and raw and full of emotion. I felt like crying during some parts, and the writing helped a lot. It is tense and broken and sad. Then it gets cheerful and truly happy and amazingly beautiful. It is a mirage of creativity and wonder. It is a masterpiece.