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(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Almost a Woman begins immediately after thirteen-year-old Esmeralda and her family have moved to Brooklyn from Puerto Rico. Their father has decided to stay on the island, leaving Mami to raise her eight (eventually eleven) children on her own. The book is as much about Esmeralda's entry into womanhood over the next eight years as it is about Mami's struggle to support her family in a foreign, often hostile, culture. In the end, Esmeralda leaves her mother's house to move to Florida with a love interest, recognizing simultaneously that her deep bond to Mami is unbreakable and will endure both physical distance and time.