Review of ADIOS TO MY OLD LIFE by Caridad Ferrer (see her website)
Pocket/MTV, July 2006
When she sneaks out to enter a 'Next Latin Star' show, Alegria (Ali) Montero figures it's just a chance to be seen. But when she's selected as a finalist, the Catholic schoolgirl has to confront her old-fashioned father and persuade him that her dreams, while not his, deserve a chance. Ali lives for music and for performance. And she's completely in her element while she's on the stage. Of course, as soon as she's off the stage, she just might be hurling out her guts--she is, after all, a virgin schoolgirl competing with some of the hottest talent in the Latin world. Unfortunately for her, the one other contestant from Miami, sultry Fabiana, will do anything in her power to sabotage Ali and keep her from reaching her dreams. Only one of the finalists will make it all the way to the recording contract, the guaranteed single, the final stardom.
Old-fashioned Latin American sponsors insist that Ali have a chaperone since she's under 18, unlike all of the other finalists who get to live in a mansion and enjoy the finest of Miami, but Ali doesn't mind too much since her chaperone is a woman who's had the hots for her father for a long time and who is close to Ali's best friend. She's also not a very strict chaperone and Ali finds she can spend a bit of time with a cute college intern production assistant. But when the pressure is really on, will he be there for Ali--and will Ali be able to cope with the fact that she really is saying adios to her entire old life?
Author Caridad Ferrer spins a charming tale of coming of age and young love. With Ferrer's Cuban heritage and bilingual upbringing, the Latin American aspects of the story ring true. The musical elements, too, are completely convincing. I found myself laughing and hoping along with Ali for the right result as she sang her heart out for the crouds, the judges, and for her father. The fan site set up by 14-year-old boys was a laugh, and the overwhelming fan moment scary.
ADIOS TO MY OLD LIFE was the surprise winner of Romance Writers of America's top award (the RITA) for best single title romance even though it had been initially entered in the young adult category (because there weren't enough entrants in that category, it was closed and ADIOS was shifted into the adult category). Facing very stiff competition, ADIOS pulled out a deserved win.
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