Back In The Day
When I was in high school I loved John Hughes films. Sixteen Candles. Breakfast Club, and, of course, Pretty in Pink. I watched them repeatedly to the point that I memorized the lines. The lives depicted on the big screen seemed so outside of my own teenage life in the South Bronx that it seemed as if I was watching a science fiction film. How they spoke. The large schools they attended. That they even lived in a house. There were no Latinx characters in those films and if there was a person of color, they were some painful stereotype. I saw that too but I craved anything (TV, movies, books) that might touch upon the feelings of alienation I felt.
In the film Pretty in Pink, the main character Andie was the poor outcast in a high school filled with rich kids. That wasn't my experience but I could relate to that feeling of being the "other." Like most Latinx, I was a mixture of things—I grew up listening to salsa and hip hop music but I also loved punk and new wave music. I grew up in the housing projects and felt shame because of it. I dreamt of leaving. Books and writing became my way to escape.
I couldn't help but smile when I found out my young adult novel was being described as "Pretty in Pink comes to the Bronx." In the novel, Margot Sanchez is willing to do just about anything to fit in. For the summer, she's stuck working at her father's failing supermarket in the South Bronx. Gentrification is creeping in to the neighborhood. Things are changing and she's forced to see it for the first time. Like Andie in Pretty in Pink, Margot is about to be hit with some hardcore realizations about her family, her friends, and most importantly, about herself.