December 25, 2019

#BookReview: Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle by Hilda Eunice Burgos

Synopsis: Her last name may mean "kings," but Ana Maria Reyes REALLY does not live in a castle. Rather, she's stuck in a tiny apartment with two parents (way too lovey-dovey), three sisters (way too dramatic), everyone's friends (way too often), and a piano (which she never gets to practice). And when her parents announce a new baby is coming, that means they'll have even less time for Ana Maria.

Then she hears about the Eleanor School, New York City's best private academy. If Ana Maria can win a scholarship, she'll be able to get out of her Washington Heights neighborhood school and achieve the education she's longed for. To stand out, she'll need to nail her piano piece at the upcoming city showcase, which means she has to practice through her sisters' hijinks, the neighbors' visits, a family trip to the Dominican Republic . . . right up until the baby's birth! But some new friends and honest conversations help her figure out what truly matters, and know that she can succeed no matter what. Ana Maria Reyes may not be royal, but she's certain to come out on top.


Hilda Eunice Burgos has been writing for many years, but Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle will be her first published novel. Her parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic before she was born, and she grew up in Washington Heights as one of four sisters. She now lives with her family near Philadelphia, where she works as an environmental lawyer. Please visit her website at

Rating: ★★★★★
My Review: This was such a cute little story. Even though I am a boy I really loved the story and learning more about music and Ana Maria Reyes!  I finished this book in a week and the only real issue I had was the music terms and the Spanish words.  But I got help so it was ok.  I hope to get another story from this author soon. 

Gr 4-8-Ana María Reyes doesn't live in a castle, she lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her three sisters and both parents in Washington Heights, New York City. Ana María is caring, outspoken, and impulsive, driven by her emotions but also very goal-oriented. She yearns to attend a private academy, the Eleanor School, but her family doesn't have the money for tuition. To earn a scholarship, she must pass a test and impress the judges playing the piano in a showcase recital at Lincoln Center. She is determined to study and practice every day, but finds it hard to do as part of a large and growing family. Her mother is expecting a new baby and her aunt is getting married. The family travels to the Dominican Republic for the wedding, where the protagonist gets know her family better and makes a new friend. While there, Ana María struggles to grasp the socioeconomic disparities she sees within her own family and community. Somehow, she finds time to practice, helps her family and friends through tough situations, and learns to deal with and accept the consequences of her actions. This middle grade novel is an engaging, character-driven story about an 11-year-old Dominican American girl who is learning about herself and to appreciate her family and friends. It is an authentic representation of a successful immigrant, middle class Latinx family who values education, community, and family and stays true to their roots. VERDICT An ­excellent book for tweens in upper elementary grades and for middle school library collections.-Cynthia Molinar, Medio Creek Elementary SWISD, San Antonioα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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