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Pura Belpre Young Adult Author Honor Book 2023

“Seamlessly explores bodily autonomy and familial expectations through a perceptive protagonist, sharp narration, and complex relationships. . . . Powerful and engrossing.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Breathe and Count Back from Ten

Written by Natalia Sylvester
Published by HarperCollins Publishers

In this gorgeously written and authentic novel, Verónica, a Peruvian-American teen with hip dysplasia, auditions to become a mermaid at a Central Florida theme park in the summer before her senior year, all while figuring out her first real boyfriend and how to feel safe in her own body.

Verónica has had many surgeries to manage her disability. The best form of rehabilitation is swimming, so she spends hours in the pool, but not just to strengthen her body.

Her Florida town is home to Mermaid Cove, a kitschy underwater attraction where professional mermaids perform in giant tanks . . . and Verónica wants to audition. But her conservative Peruvian parents would never go for it. And they definitely would never let her be with Alex, her cute new neighbor.

She decides it’s time to seize control of her life, but her plans come crashing down when she learns her parents have been hiding the truth from her—the truth about her own body.

Primary ISBN: 9780358536864
Publication Date: May 2022
Available As: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook
Young Adult, Age 13 or older

Community Represented: ,

Themes: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Setting: United States (Florida)

Character's Place in the Immigration Journey: Immigrant

Book Creator(s) Connection to the Community Represented: Own Voices/Lived Experience

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