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by Janel Rodriguez Ferrer
“I don’t want to be the only Payless shoe in a building full of Pradas…”
When Gina Santiago, a thirteen year-old “Nuyorican” with rock star dreams, is accepted into the prestigious New York Academy of Arts and Talents she’s completely and totally bummed. Why? Gina got in for art—not music, like she really wanted. Plus, the school is on Manhattan’s Upper East Side (in other words, filled with rich kids) and Gina doesn’t think rice and beans mixes too well with caviar!
It’s Gina’s mother who’s all excited. She’s an artist, too, and wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps, instead of those of her father, Michael, who also had rock star dreams but died before ever achieving them.
But it’s the footsteps of her guitar hero, Angel “Wings” Dominguez, that Gina really wants to walk in. And wearing a medal of St. Michael the Archangel in honor of both her father and her idol, Gina decides to chase after that dream—even if it means battling her mother, rival guitarists, mean teachers, and snobby frenemies do it.