Review: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Review: Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

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Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno is a heartfelt story about a girl who is cursed by the sea. With a sweet main character and lyrical descriptions of the seaside setting, this is a magical read about self-discovery and choosing your own path. Those looking for a book with peak summer vibes will not want to miss this one.

Review: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina MorenoTitle: Don't Date Rosa Santos
Author: Nina Moreno
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?

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Review: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Having grown up with stories about the women in her family being cursed by the sea, resulting in tragedy when they fall in love, Rosa has developed a fear of the water, and a fear of dating. However, when she meets a boy in her small seaside town, a boy who happens to be the son of the owner of the marina, Rosa must find a way to break the curse and live her life on her own terms.

❀ Enjoyable Main Character

Rosa is such a lovable character, and I enjoyed her voice. She is driven, and she works to save the town’s festival while taking dual enrolment courses. Throughout the book, Rosa struggles to find her place, and I enjoyed reading about her mission to learn more about her Cuban roots, which her grandmother never discusses. Family is also a prominent element in the story, and I enjoyed the complex dynamics between the Santos women. They are each so strong, and I found the portrayal of their interactions realistic.

❀ Beautiful Writing

What makes the book truly magical is its writing style. Moreno’s prose is so lyrical, and her beautiful imagery makes the Port Coral come to life. I always love a seaside setting, and the descriptions of food, the Spring Festival, and the sense of community in this one make the story seem even more real.

❀ Heartwarming Story

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno is a heartwarming–and heartbreaking–story about choosing your own path. I adored the concept of a girl who is cursed by the sea, and the main character is easy to root for. Moreno’s gorgeous writing complements the magic of the plot, making this the perfect read for the end of summer.

About Nina Moreno

Nina Moreno

Nina Moreno was born and raised in Miami until a hurricane sent her family toward the pines of Georgia where she picked up an accent. She’s a proud University of Florida Gator who once had her dream job of shelving books at the library. Inspired by the folklore and stories passed down to her from her Cuban and Colombian family, she now writes about Latinas chasing their dreams, falling in love, and navigating life in the hyphen. Her first novel, Don’t Date Rosa Santos, is available now from Little Brown for Young Readers and was a Junior Library Guild Selection, Indie Next Pick for teen readers, and SIBA Okra Pick. Her upcoming novel, Our Way Back to Always, will be out from LBYR in Fall 2021.

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About The Candid Cover

Olivia ❀ Canadian YA book blogger, Starbucks lover, & professional bibliophile.

20 thoughts on “Review: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

  1. Deanna (A Novel Glimpse) says:

    I started listening to this a year or so ago and didn’t get far. I’m not sure why. I must have ran out of time with the library loan or something. Your review has me wanting to go back and give it a second chance.

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