Too ugly, too chubby, too Latina?… too brave to be eclipsed.

Pilar and Pili are two young women separated by an entire generation. Pili lives in 1970s Laredo, on the Mexican border in South Texas. She has a flammable personality and routinely flouts the cultural expectations of femininity in her machismo-oriented Mexican American community. Pilar, her granddaughter and namesake, is a high schooler in contemporary Houston with a vivid imagination and dreams of becoming the Mexican Meryl Streep. She wants to audition for her high school play in Houston. But she’s afraid of what her classmates might think. According to Becca Barlowe, Pilar is too ugly, too fat, and too Mexican. And if she ever forgets, Becca and her gang are there to remind her every day.

She comes home in tears one day and, in an attempt to do what’s best for her daughter, her mother puts her on a diet. She doesn’t want to see her suffer. But her grandmother sees her as perfect just the way she is and loves to overfeed her.

Everything changes when she meets Sonny, a boy with echolalia (a speech disorder in which he involuntarily repeats phrases in an echoing manner), and Gabe, her mother’s boyfriend’s nephew, who moves in with them to escape the bullies in his class. With the support of her new friends and family, Pilar is encouraged to audition, bravely facing the harassment of Becca and her gang.

When Devin, the school jock posts about her on social media, she goes on an exorbitant food binge to numb her pain. From that day on, her grandmother starts cooking more healthily and no longer insists that Pilar eat. She also tells her that, many years ago, she encouraged her sister to leave her husband, a misogynist alcoholic. As family secrets are revealed, Pilar discovers that she is part of a family of strong and ambitious women. This, along with Becca’s threats against her sister on opening night, strikes a chord in Pilar that empowers her to stand up to Becca and her minions.

Two intertwined stories in this multigenerational family drama, Pilar and Pili’s. While Pili pushes for her sister to leave her emotionally abusive husband in the historical storyline, in the present, Pilar faces down her bullies and reveals herself to be both a talented actress and true friend. Two women from the Mexican-American community who must fight and find their place in the world. The revelations of family secrets demonstrate the inner strength of Pili, Pilar, and a long line of ambitious and feisty women before them.


RELEVANT DATA: Wishbone is a warm drama with comedic overtones that portrays the clash of generations and values in the Mexican-American community. It explores, through the granddaughter and grandmother, the strength of family ties and their importance in overcoming difficult circumstances, intergenerational conflict and clashes in values.

Anna Garcia Schaper is an American writer and teacher. Wishbone is her first novel.


What the critics have said:

“Pilar and Pili are two young women separated by a generation and family secrets. While the plot is fast-paced, the interwoven stories explore the family’s history through the facets of sisterhood, motherhood and friendship, creating a profile of family dynamics. A story of strong women that is at once all encompassing, but truly intimate.” Kirkus Reviews.

“From 1970s Laredo to present-day Houston, readers will witness the unfolding story of a fourth-generation Mexican-American family. Two engaging narrators create a light-hearted tone that balances the dramatic side. This novel makes many cultural issues visible, and unravels issues of intergenerational sexism.” School Library Journal.

“In two timelines, Schaper presents a story of culture, love, and feminism that spans generations. Short chapters with alternating narrators balance the story’s pacing, and the freewheeling writing as well as the revelation of long-kept secrets make for a compelling tale with an empowering ending. The family ties, the personalities of the protagonists, the clever humor, and the cultural elements should appeal to fans of the book Gabi, fragmentos de una adolescente, by Isabel Quinteros.” Horn Book Magazine.


AUDIOVISUAL POTENTIAL: TV Series, Miniseries, Film, TV Movie.


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