Summary: Aniana Del Mar Jumps In
Aniana Del Mar Jumps into her love for swimming despite her mother’s disapproval. Aniana is a child of Dominican parents growing up on Galveston, an island in the state of Texas. Her mom has undiagnosed PTSD from the death of her (Aniana’s mother’s) brother years ago in a storm back in their home country, so she doesn’t want her daughter near the water. Aniana’s father wants his daughter to pursue her passion and takes her to swim meets without her mother’s knowledge. But when Aniana wakes up one day with painfully swollen joints and other weird symptoms after swimming, their secret is exposed, and Aniana is faced with a new diagnosis that may threaten the one sport she loves.
This is a verse novel with a lot of fun experimentation (I have no idea what they’re called, but the author makes shapes out of some of the verses). I think the verse format lends itself well to the author’s storytelling. The strain in Aniana’s and her mother’s relationship makes the story hard to read at times because it feels like the two can’t come to an understanding. Also, Aniana’s mother’s hyper-religious attitude, while comforting for her proves to be almost suffocating for her daughter.
Another major theme in this book is Aniana’s diagnosis of idiopathic juvenile arthritis which shakes her to the core. Readers learn that many chronic diseases are idiopathic (there’s no known cause), relapsing and remitting (on and off), and often hard to diagnose. But we also see that most can be managed and people can learn to live and thrive with them like Aniana does. Ani uses a mix of steroid medications and physical therapy to manage her symptoms.
Overall: Aniana Del Mar Jumps In
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