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Don't Date Rosa Santos

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Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that's what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you're a boy with a boat. But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Por Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that's what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you're a boy with a boat. But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about. As her college decision looms, Rosa collides - literally - with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?


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Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that's what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you're a boy with a boat. But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Por Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that's what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you're a boy with a boat. But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about. As her college decision looms, Rosa collides - literally - with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?

30 review for Don't Date Rosa Santos

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    This was fun and beautiful and sassy and somber all rolled into one and I enjoyed the heck out of it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    This had major Jane the Virgin vibes & I adored it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars. "We try with all we have. We fight hands we can't see. We stomp against the earth and whisper all the right prayers, but sometimes it isn't meant to be. You believe life will always be as it is, and you make plans, but the next thing you know, you're climbing into a sinking boat in the dead of night because the land you love is no longer safe. The sun sets, he doesn't swim above the water again, and time runs out." Rosa Santos has been raised to believe that the 4.5 stars. "We try with all we have. We fight hands we can't see. We stomp against the earth and whisper all the right prayers, but sometimes it isn't meant to be. You believe life will always be as it is, and you make plans, but the next thing you know, you're climbing into a sinking boat in the dead of night because the land you love is no longer safe. The sun sets, he doesn't swim above the water again, and time runs out." Rosa Santos has been raised to believe that the women in her family are cursed by the sea, especially when it comes to love, and the men who get involved with them are doomed. When her grandparents migrated from Cuba when her mother was just an infant, storms hit their boat, and only Rosa's grandmother and mother survived. Eighteen years later, the young man her mother loved (and Rosa's father) left on his boat for a routine day of work and never returned. Since then Rosa has been afraid of even going near the water—and has steered clear of relationships. She lives with her grandmother, Mimi, in a small Florida town where everyone knows everyone's business. Mimi works as a curandera, the person everyone turns to for help with illness, crises, and everything in between. Rosa's mother drifts in and out of town, unable to stay for too long in the place where her heart was broken, and causing friction with Mimi whenever she returns. What Rosa wants more than anything is answers. She wants to know more about what Cuba was like for her grandmother, why she'll never speak of that time or of the family left behind. She wants to understand why her mother can't stay in one place, why she can't be the mother she's always needed. And more than anything, she wants to understand the whole idea of the Santos "curse," especially when she meets Alex Aquino, the brooding sailor with tattoos of the ocean and a passion for baking. How do you get a fresh start when everyone around you knows everything about you, and is watching your every move? Can we really overcome the challenges of our past, and outrun the "curses"? Is love worth risking everything for, especially the potential that you could "doom" someone else? Don't Date Rosa Santos is an utterly charming, sweet book about family, love, grief, and heritage, and is, in many ways, a love letter both to Cuba and to small-town America. The characters are fun and complex, and even if there aren't too many surprises to be had in the book, I got hooked pretty quickly and read the entire book in one day. Nina Moreno has created a magical place, and her characters are quirky and memorable. It does feel a little like Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls , and the relationships between mothers and daughters are special. (Plus, Alex sounded hot.) This was a fun read without a tremendous amount of angst, which was a nice change of pace for me! NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion provided me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    The ''curse'' annoyed me. Like, really? And there's miscommunication, concealment of information, angst. That was bound to drive me crazy. So I stopped right before reaching that point. There is a lot that can make you want to shout in exasperation in this world, why let a book do that to you? Cute cover and some cute scenes though.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zoraida

    This book is just everything. It is a love song to Cuba, to diaspora, to complicated families. It captures the way generations of Latinx women can communicate—or NOT communicate at all. It is about love and loss and grief. It is so absolutely charming and pure poetry. It is magical realism in the way Latinos only understand and it is romantic AF. I hope everyone gives it a chance and reads this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    This book was so gosh darn cute. It was everything I didn't know I needed. The culture, the language, the family, the romance, the curse! Everything was so cute and I loved it! My little Latina heart was filled with so much happiness while reading this book. We don't enough cute Latinx contemporaries. We never just get to see some cute Hispanic kids just falling in love without the backdrop of racism, immigration or something equally serious or tragic in the background. NOt that This book was so gosh darn cute. It was everything I didn't know I needed. The culture, the language, the family, the romance, the curse! Everything was so cute and I loved it! My little Latina heart was filled with so much happiness while reading this book. We don't enough cute Latinx contemporaries. We never just get to see some cute Hispanic kids just falling in love without the backdrop of racism, immigration or something equally serious or tragic in the background. NOt that this is bad, it's just that we never get any light and enjoyable stories, just for the sake of being light and enjoyable. We also rarely get any Latinx contemporaries where the culture is so ingrained in the story and in the characters in a way that is not stereotypical or superficial. Seriously though, a part of me kind of hates when Latinx characters are added to books. They always have an accent, have like five siblings living in cramped quarters, call everyone 'chica' or some sort of Spanish nickname, and are usually nothing more than background characters to further the plot of the usually white main character.  So, you can imagine how happy I was to read this book and love it. It was like a breath of fresh air and y'all should totally read it. This is a contemporary romance and it's also about a curse. I was so curious to see how this so-called 'curse' was going to play into the story and I was not disappointed. I loved how it was less so about an actual bewitching and more about the complex yet beautiful relationship between the three generations of Santos' women. One of my favorite things about contemporaries is how they, more than any other genre in YA, take the time to explore families and the beautiful and messy ways they interact. They give you all the sides to the story and give you flawed characters you can understand and root for.  I think this book did a wonderful job in that regard with Rosa, her mother Lilliana, and her grandmother Mimi.  The book also did a wonderful job with all the secondary characters and their relationships with their families. Family is very important in Latinx cultures and this book illustrated that perfectly. Speaking of culture, this was one of my favorite parts of the book. The unapologetic use of Spanish in such natural and relatable ways was amazing! As was the food! Tres Leche is honestly the best thing ever. I also appreciate all the other foods mentioned that I knew so well. And even the ones I didn't as honestly, not all Hispanic cultures are the same or have the same foods. I also totally loved the writing. I didn't expect to like it so much. It was fluid and beautiful and engaging. I can't wait to read more from this author. Lastly, the romance. this is a contemporary romance, after all, so let us hop to it.  There is nothing much to say other than that it was super cute. That said, it felt a bit rushed to me. It was like, despite loving it and wanting them to end up together, I wasn't fully convinced, you know what I mean. Still, it was really cute and I overall really did like Alex and Rosa together. In the end, this book was super cute and I totally recommend it. If you want some Latinx culture in your literature, some good writing and interesting characters, some romance and complex family drama, and also a curse for good measure, then I'm certain you'll enjoy this one! **An ARC was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own** Follow Me Here Too: My Blog || Twitter || Bloglovin' || Instagram || Tumblr

  7. 5 out of 5

    chan ☆

    happy release day to this own voices excellence! 2019 is the year of good ass latinx contemporaries this was a lot of fun! to be honest, i requested it because of the buzz i was hearing from some of my lovely latinx friends but i didn't know much about the story going in. i think had i known what the premise was i probably wouldn't have requested it. "save our town" kind of stories usually aren't for me. but i'm glad i listened to my friends because this was great! it's a story about a/>2019 happy release day to this own voices excellence! 2019 is the year of good ass latinx contemporaries this was a lot of fun! to be honest, i requested it because of the buzz i was hearing from some of my lovely latinx friends but i didn't know much about the story going in. i think had i known what the premise was i probably wouldn't have requested it. "save our town" kind of stories usually aren't for me. but i'm glad i listened to my friends because this was great! it's a story about a cuban american girl named rosa who's in her senior year of high school. she's trying to figure out where she fits in both in terms of her heritage and in what she wants to do. she wants to go to cuba, she wants to feel a deeper connection to her family and she wants to understand where she comes from. all of this struggle is happening internally as she tries to help her town raise enough money to keep their marina from being bought by developers. and of course there's a love story. i really enjoyed the cuban rep in this and i really enjoyed the family relationships in this. it was messy and real and even though i'm just a whitey, i could relate to the family dynamics. i also loved the town of Port Coral where this was set. everyone knew everyone and it felt like a cuban Stars Hollow. the only thing that i didn't absolutely love about the story was the romance. it was kind of swoony at points but it didn't grip me. i think YA contemporaries are VERY hit or miss with the romance for me so this isn't too surprising. but alex was a super sweet guy and i didn't actively root against their relationship so i'll take that as a win in my book. overall, i loved this story and getting to know rosa and port coral. would highly recommend to everyone, it would make a good ass summer read

  8. 4 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    *4.5 stars* This review originally appeared on Novel Ink. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. There are always a few books every year that, from the very first page, you know are going to land among your favorites of the year. Don’t Date Rosa Santos was one of those such books for me. It’s a gem of a YA contemporary that deals with identity, history, family, culture, and home, *4.5 stars* This review originally appeared on Novel Ink. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. There are always a few books every year that, from the very first page, you know are going to land among your favorites of the year. Don’t Date Rosa Santos was one of those such books for me. It’s a gem of a YA contemporary that deals with identity, history, family, culture, and home, set against the whimsical backdrop of a tiny Florida beach town. Add in a swoony romance, a generations-long curse, a deeply likable and relatable MC, and some excellent representation, and I was SOLD. Let’s first talk about Rosa, our main character and the sweet baby angel overachiever of my heart. Rosa is one of those characters who I read about and was immediately like, oh, yep, this is a real person I completely would be friends with. She reminded me SO much of high-school-Madalyn. At the start of the book, Rosa is facing two huge projects: deciding where to go to college, and saving her hometown’s annual festival, Spring Fest. She’s intensely driven, a little type A, and a lot magical in the way that all cool women are. She is intensely loyal to her family, friends, and home. And even though I don’t share Rosa’s Cuban background, I empathized deeply with her feeling of having one foot in two different worlds and never quite feeling like “enough” to belong in either of them. So much of this story is a love letter to the idea of home. Port Coral is Rosa’s home, but she also feels intensely connected to Cuba despite the layers and layers of family secrets and shame and history that country holds for the Santos women. That being said, I thought Nina Moreno NAILED the small Florida beach town setting with Port Coral. My parents live on a tiny Florida island, and that very specific vibe was so present throughout the story. Port Coral is very much a community where everyone supports one another and they work toward common goals together. The portrayal of Cuban culture in Don’t Date Rosa Santos is one that I know many of my Cuban American friends hold dear. Family also plays into the idea of home, and the women in Rosa’s family were all incredible. Mimi in particular has my heart forever, but I also loved exploring the complicated dynamic between Rosa and her mother. Of course, friends often function as found family, and especially so for immigrants. Rosa’s best friend, Anna, and her family were a pleasant surprise I didn’t expect going into this story. All of Rosa’s friends felt true to life and exactly like a real group of teenagers. Though it’s not a central part of the story, per se, I loved Rosa’s romance with Alex. It was romantic and swoony and allowed Rosa to reckon with a few of Rosa’s deep-seated perceptions about herself and her relationship to the world around her. I appreciated the way the “curse” of the Santos women played out, too. Nina Moreno’s writing is lyrical and lovely without feeling too over-the-top. I’m so impressed that Rosa Santos is her debut novel, because she was able to capture a lot in this relatively short gem of a book. It’s a love letter to Cuba, to children of diaspora, to family, and to home. I cannot wait to read more from Moreno in the future!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stacee

    I was legit here for the “cursed girl and the sea” story line and didn’t need much more than that. I loved Rosa. I loved her loyalty and her steadfastness. I loved her need to explore and learn. Her friends were all great and so were the secondary characters. Of course Mimi stole every scene she was in and I don’t even know what to do with Alex {aka the boy who bakes and read silently next to her in school and is so shy and charming} Plot wise, it was good. There were loads of charact I was legit here for the “cursed girl and the sea” story line and didn’t need much more than that. I loved Rosa. I loved her loyalty and her steadfastness. I loved her need to explore and learn. Her friends were all great and so were the secondary characters. Of course Mimi stole every scene she was in and I don’t even know what to do with Alex {aka the boy who bakes and read silently next to her in school and is so shy and charming} Plot wise, it was good. There were loads of characters and I finally gave up trying to keep them straight. Even with all of the plot threads, the story is ultimately about family and finding your place in it and this was told beautifully. I loved the culture and the way food was basically a character and just how much longing there was for Cuba. Overall, it was a quick and passionate read. There were definitely some heartbreaking parts, but I was captivated from the start and could easily read more from these characters. **Huge thanks to Hyperion for providing the arc free of charge**

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sara➽ Ink Is My Sword

    Hi hello, my name is Sara and I am confessing my sins. I may have murdered everyone for not telling me about this book earlier. Girlmore girls! To all the boys I have loved before! Latino Culture! Bad boy-tattoos! Contemporary-romance! THE FUCK, I AM IN SO SO SO IN. TAKE MY MONEY NOW!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    Thank you, Netgalley, for providing me with an ARC of Don’t Date Rosa Santos in exchange for an honest review! Actual rating: 3.5 ★’s. This was the perfect summer contemporary that was equal parts cute but also heartbreaking, which I didn’t expect. While I did quite enjoy this, there was just something missing for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it, either. It was just okay. The writing was beautiful and I did highlight a lot of quotes and passages. I also loved the dialogue, Nina M Thank you, Netgalley, for providing me with an ARC of Don’t Date Rosa Santos in exchange for an honest review! Actual rating: 3.5 ★’s. This was the perfect summer contemporary that was equal parts cute but also heartbreaking, which I didn’t expect. While I did quite enjoy this, there was just something missing for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it, either. It was just okay. The writing was beautiful and I did highlight a lot of quotes and passages. I also loved the dialogue, Nina Moreno did a great job with her characters. Speaking of which, I felt there were a lot of them and it was hard for me to keep track of them at times. There was also a lot of great POC and LGTBQ+ representation in here. I feel like the curse plot line was more of a side plot line than the main one. I thought this story would have revolved more around the curse. It was mentioned here and there but not really discussed in depth. I thought it would be a little bit more on the magical realism side, not like completely magical realism, I guess I just expected more of the curse to play a part in the story than it did. Also, the food and bakery mentioned throughout the book? Yeah, I wanted to eat everything they were describing. It took me a little while to be on team Alex and Rosa, but towards the end I ended up really liking them together. I thought their support for one another was adorable. This is a story about family, love, friendship, culture, grieving, and just finding a way to walk through the darkness that life sometimes brings your way. Overall, I recommend you pick up this book when it comes out! I wish I could have enjoyed it more than I did, but regardless, I definitely don’t regret reading this beautiful story. <3 Set to publish on May 14th, 2019.

  12. 4 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    This book was warm, heartbreaking, delightful, and so so... beautifully human. I adore this book immensely, and adore Rosa Santos even more. - Follows Rosa Santos, a bi Cuban-American teen who lives in the small coastal town of Port Coral with her abuela. The story is an array of threads that weave together to form a wonderful slice-of-life story in a pivotal moment in Rosa's life: deciding on a college, in which one may possibly give her the opportunity to visit Cuba and learn more about h This book was warm, heartbreaking, delightful, and so so... beautifully human. I adore this book immensely, and adore Rosa Santos even more. - Follows Rosa Santos, a bi Cuban-American teen who lives in the small coastal town of Port Coral with her abuela. The story is an array of threads that weave together to form a wonderful slice-of-life story in a pivotal moment in Rosa's life: deciding on a college, in which one may possibly give her the opportunity to visit Cuba and learn more about her heritage. But then, of course, enter a boy named Alex. Things change. - This story is about family, family curses, the choices that we make, finding your place in the world, saving your home from gentrification, love, and being part of diaspora. It's a complex and beautiful story, filled with the ups and downs that life may throw at us. - I loved all the characters and really felt like I knew them by the end. Moreno is incredible with words and her characters have so much life and spark in them. - The story takes an unexpected turn towards the end - one that left me crying in bed because (a) it was heartbreaking, and (b) something similar happened to me last year. Please see trigger warnings for this, as I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. - This story is a love-letter to diaspora teens everywhere. I related so much to Rosa, and I think a lot of diaspora teens will relate to her too. Trigger/content warning: (view spoiler)[mentions of death of a loved one, death of a loved one, grief, heart attack, anxiety (hide spoiler)]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Who Reads

    please note that my reading experience wasn't perfect because all of the first pages of each chapter were missing so I kept getting jerked out of the story when it could have been smoother BUT this was really good!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fares

    2.5 I read unrelatable books before but to like them I need an interesting plot and some sort of quirky characters. This unfortunately wasn't relatable and had nothing interesting to me. It's the kind of book I'll forget everything about tomorrow. I did like the ending tho, and that was enough for me to say that I can see some people loving this, this book has its audience but I'm not one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie Zantopoulos

    A generational story about family, curses, and the price we pay for our family's prior sacrifices. The weight you feel when your family sacrificed so you could have a better life and how that can limit you, cripple you with fear and anxiety and the desire to overachieve. It was a really atmospheric and wonderful LatinX story and I found myself really enjoying the audiobook. I will say that there was a surprise sick family member/death and I was not okay with it as I'm at a point in my life where A generational story about family, curses, and the price we pay for our family's prior sacrifices. The weight you feel when your family sacrificed so you could have a better life and how that can limit you, cripple you with fear and anxiety and the desire to overachieve. It was a really atmospheric and wonderful LatinX story and I found myself really enjoying the audiobook. I will say that there was a surprise sick family member/death and I was not okay with it as I'm at a point in my life where that's a little too close to home (no spoilers). I also wish that we'd have more resolution for Rosa and her mother, a little more discussion about their relationship and how truly messed up it had been in the past and how they were going to see things through in the future. A quick fun read with some serious emotional heart to it, though!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anna Banana

    I LOVED THIS BOOK SO DAMN HARD!!! I honestly cannot even begin to explain how much this book sang to my heart and made me fall in love with reading in a way I completely forgot I could feel. I loved everything about this book. But what I especially loved was how this book is about family, it's about culture, it's about trying to figure out who you are when you have two different country's pulling for your heart and soul. I related so much to feeling like you aren't "enough" like how Rosa struggles with n I LOVED THIS BOOK SO DAMN HARD!!! I honestly cannot even begin to explain how much this book sang to my heart and made me fall in love with reading in a way I completely forgot I could feel. I loved everything about this book. But what I especially loved was how this book is about family, it's about culture, it's about trying to figure out who you are when you have two different country's pulling for your heart and soul. I related so much to feeling like you aren't "enough" like how Rosa struggles with not feeling Cuban enough. I lost count of the amount of times while reading I would find myself thinking, "THIS is the book I needed to read when I was in high school. This would've made me feel not alone, it would've validated so many of my feelings and thoughts that I constantly felt nobody but me felt." I love how diverse this book was as well and how casually it was inserted all over this book. Having LGBT+ rep, biracial couples, etc was not this big thing that was talked about, it was treated like it was just a normal, regular thing which I really appreciated because, well it is! Sometimes it can feel like authors make these character stand out but I love that Nina Moreno made them feel so accepted and just normal, because it's exactly how the world is. I also cannot go without mentioning the absolutely cute romance in this book. I loved Alex so much and I love how sweet and shy and just perfect he was. While the romance wasn't the main part of this book, it was still very much a big presence in this book. However, I like how it was balanced perfectly with what the overall message/plot of this book was. Which, in case I didn't make clear: this book is abut family and the many different, complicated versions of family. It's about how family can be so many different things, sometimes it's a smell or a place and family isn't always blood but perhaps a community. I am so thankful to have been able to read this book and I cannot wait to see what this author publishes next. If you enjoy contemporary YA, this is not a book you want to miss! And even if you don't typically read contemporary YA, I'm pretty sure this is a book for everyone and you'd be seriously missing out! I think the publishers really hit in on the head when they said this book was perfect for fans of Gilmore Girls and To All the Boys I've Loved Before because it definitely gave me those vibes. *copy given in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Nina is such a gifted writer, and I can't wait for everyone to read this Gilmore Girls meets Practical Magic YA! It's a story about Rosa, an artistic soul with a passion and determination to visit her family's country, a country forbidden legally and by her own family to visit in any capacity. Toss in the cultural elements, the diaspora, the lyrical language, and a whole lot of delicious pastries, and I was a goner. This book is gorgeous. *proud agent*

  18. 4 out of 5

    Priscilla (Bookie Charm)

    Wow. I feel so full. I'll carry this feeling of hope and light forever. 🌺🌊 -------------- I decided to write up a full review even though the above really captures how I felt once I finished and how I feel about this gem now. Nina Moreno created an unforgettable story that will resonate so much with Cuban-Americans and other Latinx folx like me. The title Don't Date Rosa Santos entices you with the promise of a YA summer romance but offers a story about, not only loving a b Wow. I feel so full. I'll carry this feeling of hope and light forever. 🌺🌊 -------------- I decided to write up a full review even though the above really captures how I felt once I finished and how I feel about this gem now. Nina Moreno created an unforgettable story that will resonate so much with Cuban-Americans and other Latinx folx like me. The title Don't Date Rosa Santos entices you with the promise of a YA summer romance but offers a story about, not only loving a boy, but also loving your mother, grandmother, homeland, and community. (view spoiler)[ Don't get me wrong, Alex was a great love interest too! A boy that bakes and loves the sea? I also loved that Rosa defended him with this wonderful line: "There's a lot of pressure for immigrants and their kids when we want to make good on sacrifices." (hide spoiler)] This is a story about loss, love, and the power of healing after generations of inflicted trauma. Sometimes it felt like the idea of being cursed was all in my head. Like it was a fabled warning to remind me to work hard and focus on my goals. The women before me had lost too much for me to be anything but firmly focused on the future. I was meant to achieve and make all of the loss, heartache, and sacrifices mean something. The Santos women are cursed to lose the men they love to the sea. Born in Cuba, Rosa's mother comes to Port Coral in a boat pregnant with Rosa. Rosa's mother handles the loss of Cuba and her husband with anger. Rosa's abuela, Mimi, handles her own loss by burying all her wounds away. This leaves Rosa feeling somewhere in between. Neither here nor there. My first time in the sea felt like returning to something. I thought of my mother and abuela, the image of them sharp and sudden. I wanted to see what was on the other side. I wanted to find what was lost. I wanted to know how to move forward… My only offering heart, humility, and these coins. My tongue was heavy with the wrong language. Rosa feels a hole inside that can never seemed to be filled. The family curse was such a smart way of exploring the intergenerational trauma and I absolutely loved how the process of healing played out with magical realism prose. Moreno hit all the right notes when it came to reflecting the heartache of living in the hyphen. This was such a charming debut that had me on the brink of tears but also giddy with light and love! I'm looking forward to more from Nina Moreno. CW: death & grieving, anxiety

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    starting off April with a BANG rtc Ohhh my god. This book was so much more than I was expecting it to be. I will forever be obsessed with fluffy, cute YA contemporaries. This is that with a deeper, more meaningful layer hiding underneath. I wouldn’t say this book always reads as being realistic, but it's somehow unrealistic in the most charming way possible. The story follows Rosa. She’s what I would consider a type A, highly motivational person. She’s in her last year of high school starting off April with a BANG rtc Ohhh my god. This book was so much more than I was expecting it to be. I will forever be obsessed with fluffy, cute YA contemporaries. This is that with a deeper, more meaningful layer hiding underneath. I wouldn’t say this book always reads as being realistic, but it's somehow unrealistic in the most charming way possible. The story follows Rosa. She’s what I would consider a type A, highly motivational person. She’s in her last year of high school while simultaneously in her second year at her local community college. She has goals, and she checks off every single one of them in her perfectly organized bullet journal. She lives with her grandmother who has the most envy-inducing collection of plants. Her mother is constantly traveling so only pops into her life every once in awhile. There is a supposed curse on the women of the Santos family. When Rosa’s abuela was fleeing Cuba with her grandfather a storm hit. She reached the other side with only her daughter, Rosa’s mother. When Rosa’s mother was still pregnant with her, she also lost her husband to the sea. Only his boat was found. So basically, everyone in this small community of Port Coral believes these women to be bad news for any sailor. (see: Don’t Date Rosa Santos) I love stories that focus on tight-knit communities that are so alive with description they seem to be a character themselves. The community of Port Coral came alive to me in its description of the delicious food (omg I was basically drooling the whole time), the smell of the sea, and the sunny harbor. Maybe I’m just jealous because it’s April and still freezing here. I really don’t want to say too much about the plot, because I think it’s more magically if you go in not knowing to much. I’m so excited for you to discover this community, the Santos family, and the sweetest of romances. If you want a quick taste of hot, Florida sunshine, please read this asap. A Must-read if you like: Complicated family dynamics Realistic magic Drool-worthy food descriptions Cuban American mc Depiction of diaspora

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    I was home, and talking about Cuba had no place here. Mimi was never returning, my mother was always leaving, and I was a flightless bird left at her harbor, searching for answers that were buried at the bottom of a sea I could not know. So ends chapter 1. Don't Date Rosa Santos is so much more to me than just a sweet story about a girl on the brink of summer romance. I mean, it is that too and I'm sure that'll be enough to draw in plenty of lovers of YA contemporary. But for Cuban-Americans like myself, I was home, and talking about Cuba had no place here. Mimi was never returning, my mother was always leaving, and I was a flightless bird left at her harbor, searching for answers that were buried at the bottom of a sea I could not know. So ends chapter 1. Don't Date Rosa Santos is so much more to me than just a sweet story about a girl on the brink of summer romance. I mean, it is that too and I'm sure that'll be enough to draw in plenty of lovers of YA contemporary. But for Cuban-Americans like myself, it's a story of who I am and who I never was. It's a story about the secrets we bury in our families for generations. It's a story about living in the hyphen, the feeling of straddling cultures and countries, the never-ending struggle to feel enough. We follow my precious romper-wearing, bullet-journaling, overachieving Ravenpuff who is on a mission. Well, a couple missions. The first: to decide where to go for college. The second: to save Spring Fest. I wish I could translate the experience of reading this book into words, but I don't have them. How does one even begin to review a book of their heart? All I can say is that Nina Moreno has a gift. She took things I'd only ever felt and put them into Rosa and Port Coral, which are vibrant and alive in ways that feel tangible. I was completely transported as I read this and I am absolutely certain this book will be a game-changer for other Latinx folks as well. tw: death of a family member

  21. 5 out of 5

    ✩ Ashley ✩

    ✩ 3.5 Stars ✩ Well, that went from a light, sugary sweet, and fluffy rom-com to immeasurably heavy at the end. Yes there is a love story throughout, but it’s really a story about family. I was thrilled that a PSEO (dual HS/2yr college) student was featured, but the ending was... um... improbably timed? Atmospherically, this book was the essence of summer!! ☀ Audiobook Performance: ★★★★ ✩ 3.5 Stars ✩ Well, that went from a light, sugary sweet, and fluffy rom-com to immeasurably heavy at the end. Yes there is a love story throughout, but it’s really a story about family. I was thrilled that a PSEO (dual HS/2yr college) student was featured, but the ending was... um... improbably timed? Atmospherically, this book was the essence of summer!! ☀️ Audiobook Performance: ★★★★

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    Buddy read with Kristin! 4.5 stars! This was such a wonderful YA contemporary filled with magic, culture, and a whole lot of love. I loved being able to accompany Rosa on this journey of hers from start to finish!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fafa's Book Corner

    Mini review: DNF Trigger warning: Mention of death. Up till the point I read. I received this E-ARC via Disney Book Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. When I saw this book on Netgalley I jumped to request it! Unfortunately it wasn’t for me. As I started reading I lost interest. I thought it was just because I didn’t know the characters or the story. But this kept on happening. Eventually I realized I had no interest in the book. Still recommend. I really Mini review: DNF Trigger warning: Mention of death. Up till the point I read. I received this E-ARC via Disney Book Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. When I saw this book on Netgalley I jumped to request it! Unfortunately it wasn’t for me. As I started reading I lost interest. I thought it was just because I didn’t know the characters or the story. But this kept on happening. Eventually I realized I had no interest in the book. Still recommend. I really believe this is an important book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jes Reads

    My god I absolutly loved this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Dear Rosa Santos, Welcome to my all-times-favorite bookshelf. You made me smile, you warmed my heart, you made me cry, you made me feel all the emotions and I will most likely recommend you to everyone all around because you are just that amazing <3 My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - Bloglovin'

  26. 4 out of 5

    Drewthereader20

    Overalll rating: 4.5/5 stars Trigger warnings: grief and death

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    Rating: 4.5 Stars: ★★★★ 1/2 (Maybe 5? Still deciding on a rating!!) Don't Date Rosa Santos is a magical, character-driven, and utterly beautiful YA Contemporary debut! It explores the strength and complexity of family, love, and choices as Rosa is finalizing her college plans before school ends! Moreno's debut has left me a mess of emotions & I'm not entirely sure how I'll recover 😭✨ Through a lush and lovely first person POV, we follow Rosa in her town of Po Rating: 4.5 Stars: ★★★★ 1/2 (Maybe 5? Still deciding on a rating!!) Don't Date Rosa Santos is a magical, character-driven, and utterly beautiful YA Contemporary debut! It explores the strength and complexity of family, love, and choices as Rosa is finalizing her college plans before school ends! Moreno's debut has left me a mess of emotions & I'm not entirely sure how I'll recover 😭✨ Through a lush and lovely first person POV, we follow Rosa in her town of Port Coral, Florida where she lives with her Mimi and takes part in a town-wide Spring Fest which a sort of yearly homecoming for the town and supports local businesses, but now has to help the town save their harbor! I can't put into words how much I loved the writing, as you read from Rosa's POV you can't help but feel her energy and spirit! I had the biggest smile on my face while reading Don't Date Rosa Santos! For 3 generations of Santos women, they have been no stranger to their curse and trouble with the seas. So when Rosa begins falling for her planning partner in the Spring Fest, Alex, she's constantly worried of what will go wrong, but takes a chance anyways! The inclusivity & diversity in this novel is beautiful from the representation of Cuban culture, prominent characters throughout the story who identify as gay, Rosa who is bi, also Afro-Latinx and Black characters! The town of Port Coral really comes to life on the page & you get transported their so quickly through Moreno's writing from the descriptions of the local businesses, upcoming festival, residents, and just seeing all of this from Rosa's POV makes Port Coral appear right before your eyes! (Wonderful world-building) I also loved the exploration of diaspora in Latinx culture (more to discuss!!) More to discuss --Family (Rosa's dynamic w/ Mimi & her mother) --Rosa & Alex --The Santos legacy & curse -- Rosa's journey to find her path and no longer find fear to take it --The exploration of Cuban culture + the food!! <3 The plot is so memorable and I can't put into words how immersed I was in each page from Rosa with her best friend Ann-Marie, pondering over her college decision to not disappoint Mimi (because she wants to go on an abroad trip to Cuba), the festival/wedding planning, her development with Alex & so much more! The story kept me compelled with each and every page and I loved following Rosa's journey of growth! There's exploration of family, love, grief, loss, culture, and self! There's so much life and depth to these characters, I loved them a lot All of the characters captured my heart as did this story and I'm sad I reached the end, but this book is a true gem and one you don't want to miss! Highly recommend you check out Don't Date Rosa Santos! Don't Date Rosa Santos is a magnificent YA Contemporary that you don't want to miss! From the beautiful writing, following Rosa's journey, and the themes explored from family to love and loss. The plot will captivate you as will the characters! This is a magical novel about finding your place in the world know when it seems odds are stacked against you, that no matter what you'll always find a way!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Madi

    This was such a fun summer read. I felt transported into a family descended from curses and lost at sea. Lovely writing style and I'm a big fan of the "boy with a boat"

  29. 4 out of 5

    Diana-christie

    This audio book just dragged. I don't like the girl on the cover. Her outfit is horrendous. :) I'm of Latin descent but I didn't connect with these characters or story at all.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    Video review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vThbX... I loved Don't Date Rosa Santos! From the very beginning, and all throughout the novel, we are thrown into a world where things don't make sense and that's okay. Rosa feels lost and torn between two different cultures and worlds. She longs for the old all while embracing the new, trying to desperately grab at the small pieces of the past that will connect her to her family. The whole concept of family and striving for a future that will connect he Video review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vThbX... I loved Don't Date Rosa Santos! From the very beginning, and all throughout the novel, we are thrown into a world where things don't make sense and that's okay. Rosa feels lost and torn between two different cultures and worlds. She longs for the old all while embracing the new, trying to desperately grab at the small pieces of the past that will connect her to her family. The whole concept of family and striving for a future that will connect her with the past is so interesting and intertwined all throughout the different adventures Rosa gets up to in the novel. However, I think because of this, some of the other characters surrounding Rosa get lost in the shuffle and I would have liked to see a little bit more of them. Even Alex is kind of lost and we don't really seem to get his full story. Honestly a short and sweet novel that made me yearn for the ocean and tropical weather with heavenly descriptions of food and cute little side-quests throughout to keep the plot moving, this was a fantastic debut novel.

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