By now, you must have noticed an influx of vampire novels I’ve been reading and reviewing, and that is because I had the genius idea to read as many as I can. My study is both fun but also informative. I want to trace some common themes in vampire literature.
It can get a little exhausting, so I slipped in Deborah’s Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches onto my tbr for extra credit points.
If you haven’t read or watched the hit series based on a Discovery of Witches, I will quickly summarize the first novel.
A sleepy beach town, a love interest who can bake, chismoso viejietos, Don’t Date Rosa Santos has it all.
Don’t Date Rosa Santos is my favorite book this year!
Santos lives in the small seaside town of Port Coral, Florida. The
town is very reminiscent of Star Hallows with its array of supporting
characters and yearly festivals. What mainly sets this book apart
from other books set in small towns is that the majority of the
characters of Port Coral are of Latin American descent. Because of
the unique cast of characters, readers are immersed in a world of
guayaba pastelitos and characters who code-switch between English and
Rosa is a high school senior with dual enrollment at a community college, which allows her to take her classes online and earn college credit. Rosa is in the middle of finalizing her enrollment to the University of Charleston when she learns that the town may have to cancel their annual Spring festival and sell the Marina. Rosa convinces the town to rebrand its spring festival as a fundraiser. This puts Rosa in the path of Alex Aquino, a new cutie in town. Alex assists Rosa with the fundraiser, but despite her crush, Rosa tries to keep Alex at a distance because of her family’s curse. All the men in Rosa’s family have tragically died because of the sea, and since Alex is a sailor himself, Rosa wants to keep him safe.
also struggles with her own identity in this novel. Her grandmother,
her main caretaker, refuses to talk about Cuba, the country she was
forced to flee. Rosa is curious about her roots, so she signs up for
a study abroad trip to Cuba through Charleston, the only problem is,
Rosa does not know how to tell her grandmother.
As mentioned earlier, the Santos family is cursed. Rosa’s pregnant grandmother, Milagros (Mimi), leaves Cuba with her husband in a small boat he constructed, but while navigating the dangerous waters, he drowns. Mimi gives birth to Rosa’s mother, and together the two of them make a home for themselves in Port Coral. In Port Coral, Mimi keeps herself occupied by being the town’s curandera or a healer.
father was a sailor, who owned a boat at the Port Coral Marina,
however when Rosa’s mother is pregnant, her father goes missing at
sea. Rosa is born without knowing her father or grandfather. Rosa’s
mother is an artist who travels all over the U.S painting murals, but
when Rosa turns 9, her mother decides to permanently leave her with
her grandmother. Unlike Mimi, who deals with her trauma by healing
others, Rosa’s mother’s solution to her trauma is to keep moving,
only staying in Port Corral as long as necessary.
Santos family curse is more of an inherited trauma passed down
through the generations. The citizens of Port Coral know that Rosa
should never go near the ocean, and when Rosa develops a friendship
with Alex, the viejitos begin to gossip about them because he is a
I wish I could have a concrete answer on whether this curse ends up effecting Rosa’s life, but the story ends before I could find out. The story concludes on a hopeful note, and I believe the Santos women are working to heal from their trauma.
Besides the small-town vibe of Port Coral, this book also has a lovely description of food. I was very much craving a Cuban pastelito throughout various points in the novel. I might just have to make a trip to the local Cuban bakery. If you have not had the pleasure of trying a guava pastelito or Cuban food, in general, I highly recommend you try it. It’s delicious.
“Mrs. Peña delivered a shrimp ceviche served alongside plátano chips still warm from the fryer and crispy chicharrones”
“She left, and I spooned a mountain of ceviche onto a plátano and shoved it in my mouth. The lime and salt sang together in a concert.”
Don’t Date Rosa Santos is a great book to binge read. The plot is interesting, but so are the different characters. If you want a good read for Latinx Heritage Month, Don’t Date Rosa Santos is the perfect book.
Are you impatiently awaiting the second movie to the Crazy Rich Asians series? Me too. So, I did what any another impatient person would have done, and I read the sequel. If you want to check out my review of Crazy Rich Asians, the novel you can do so here.