I really loved so much of this book…and then came the ending.
Title: Don’t Date Rosa Santos
Author: Nina Moreno
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: May 14th, 2019
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?
Everything about this book was on point: the coastal town of Port Coral was filled with a cast of characters who knew everything about everyone, delicious food, and a family that has been cursed. With Spanish language dispersed throughout the novel in a really effective way, readers were transported into this small town in Florida, among the people and their traditions.
The Santos family has been dealt a tough hand through the years. Mimi (Rosa’s grandmother) was her main guardian as Rosa’s mother was a flighty artist who avoided their town due to a rough past. Even with this tense relationship and obvious untold secrets about their family, there’s nothing these three women wouldn’t do for their family.
Rosa Santos was a very high achieving and ambitious teen who was always up to help with everything. She could have been a really annoying character, but there was something so nice and lovely about her. She had a great group of friends who stuck close to her, being very supportive in everything she did. The townspeople in general where really great and offered so much color to an already delightful town. The food! My mouth was watering from all the talk about freshly baked breads and other cakes and pastries.
Then we get to the ending. The best way I can compare it is to the TV show Scrubs. Okay, still with me on this? Scrubs had an incredible eight season run that they ended with a really incredible series finale that tied up all the storylines so nicely. Then it got surprisingly renewed for a ninth season that went in a completely different direction with new characters. That’s how I felt with this book: there was a natural ending that would have left a little a hopeful and sort of open ending. Peaceful. However, it kept going to a point where Rosa was starting to act differently to who she’s been the whole novel.
The ending was just the one thing that kept me from giving this five stars.
I was sent an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.