Chapters 5-9

After the sudden death of her seemingly perfect sister, Julia tries to learn more about her sister's life while negotiating complicated family relationships.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. scandalous
    giving offense to moral sensibilities
    First, I don’t understand why she thinks it’s so scandalous to be in other people’s kitchens. Second, most of the time we’re not even in the kitchen—we’re in the living room.
  2. ironic
    displaying incongruity between what is expected and what is
    I can only eat junk food in secret because it’s forbidden in our house. I guess it’s ironic that Apá works at a candy factory.
  3. homely
    lacking in physical beauty or proportion
    She kind of looks like a homely Cleopatra.
  4. grotesque
    ludicrously odd
    Her mascara started streaming down her face, which made her look like a grotesque clown.
  5. paranoid
    suffering from delusions of persecution or grandeur
    I’m not paranoid, just a little confused and unfocused.
  6. atrocious
    exceptionally bad or displeasing
    Lorena pulls up some websites and begins scrolling through dresses. All of them are atrocious, a few even rainbow-colored. When we get to a ladybug-pattern abomination, I’m done.
  7. abomination
    an action that arouses disgust or abhorrence
    Lorena pulls up some websites and begins scrolling through dresses. All of them are atrocious, a few even rainbow-colored. When we get to a ladybug-pattern abomination, I’m done.
  8. genocide
    systematic killing of a racial or cultural group
    I try to think of things that are not funny—socks, cancer, sports, genocide, my dead sister—anything to get me to calm down before I pee my pants.
  9. sleazy
    morally degraded
    He’d be handsome, if he weren’t so sleazy.
  10. nauseate
    upset and make ill
    I keep watching until one of the blond girls cries because her mom won’t buy her a pair of shoes that cost more than my entire life. It’s too much to take. I feel spiritually nauseated.
  11. accost
    approach and speak to someone aggressively or insistently
    It feels like my mouth is being accosted.
  12. resentful
    full of or marked by indignant ill will
    I used to like her when I was younger, but she’s become a bitter, resentful woman over the years.
  13. misshapen
    so badly formed or distorted as to be ugly
    She is always sucking her teeth at what I’m wearing or making some comment about my weight, even though she’s more floppy and misshapen than a sack of laundry.
  14. sophisticated
    having worldly knowledge and refinement
    I feel like a frumpy dork when I talk to them because they seem so sophisticated.
  15. solemnly
    in a serious and dignified manner
    “We’re good,” Freddy says solemnly. “I’m so sorry about your sister. We were in Thailand and couldn’t make it to the funeral.”
  16. subtly
    in a manner difficult to detect or grasp
    I try to pull back subtly, but it’s no use—his arm is locked around me.
  17. slur
    utter indistinctly
    “What do you want books for at a party?" he slurs.
  18. singe
    burn superficially or lightly
    I feel the heat on my back, singeing the ends of my hair.
  19. iridescent
    having a play of lustrous rainbow colors
    Their tails are iridescent green...
  20. entourage
    the group following and attending to some important person
    He told her about the wild and crazy parties he frequents with his entourage...
  21. lisp
    a speech defect that involves mispronouncing "s" and "z"
    The last substitute had a lisp and wore a fanny pack.
  22. masquerade
    a party of guests wearing costumes and disguises
    “We have to go to a masquerade Juanga invited me to.” Lorena turns to me, her eyes wide.
  23. loft
    a large unpartitioned space over a commercial space
    “Everyone, and I mean everyone, is going to be there. It’s at this fancy loft in the West Loop.”
  24. chafe
    disturb, especially by minor irritations
    Just hearing his name chafes me.
  25. intrigue
    cause to be interested or curious
    Part of me is intrigued by the party, but the other part of me doesn’t want to spend a night hanging out with Juanga.
  26. grovel
    show submission or fear
    After about ten minutes of groveling, though, it’s clear she’s not having any of it.
  27. slink
    move or walk stealthily
    I’m just waiting until my parents go to bed so I can slink out of the apartment.
  28. scrawny
    being very thin
    The few trees on the street are scrawny and have already lost most of their leaves.
  29. intricate
    having many complexly arranged elements; elaborate
    I wonder what these people do for a living because this place belongs in a magazine—Chinese lanterns, what appears to be real artwork, and intricately designed rugs.
  30. dilapidated
    in a state of decay, ruin, or deterioration
    I can’t wait to get out of our dilapidated apartment one day.
  31. insufferable
    extremely unpleasant or annoying
    Even as a kid, I thought she was insufferable.
  32. amoeba
    a single-celled organism that lives in water or soil
    Not only that, Amá says I should earn my quinceañera, even though I would rather eat a bowl of amoebas than go through with it.
  33. propitious
    presenting favorable circumstances
    He introduces himself as Dr. Scheinberg and uses the word propitious. I know what that means, of course—I read, duh—but why would you use words like that with a Mexican cleaning lady? As Mr. Ingman says, “Know your audience.”
  34. strew
    spread by scattering
    There are clothes and shoes strewn everywhere, too.
  35. scour
    rub hard or scrub
    The fumes burn the inside of my nose as I scour the stove.
  36. excruciating
    extremely painful
    “It’s okay,” I lie. The truth is that school is excruciating. I love reading and learning, but I can't stand everything else.
  37. repulse
    cause aversion in
    With a repulsed look on her face, Amá dusts all of the statues.
  38. oblivious
    lacking conscious awareness of
    As all of these stupid thoughts run through my head, Chris comes toward me, wearing sunglasses and a Scarface T-shirt, completely oblivious to how idiotic he looks.
  39. cretin
    a person of subnormal intelligence
    After I use the bathroom for the billionth time, I finally find Lorena in the back porch, surrounded by a circle of cretins who are way too old to be at a high school party.
  40. degenerate
    a person whose behavior deviates from what is acceptable
    I know I mess up sometimes, I know I can be a sarcastic jerk, I know I’m not the daughter my parents wanted, but Amá treats me like I’m a degenerate.
  41. adversity
    a state of misfortune or affliction
    The plotlines are always the same, too—a poor woman overcomes adversity...
  42. unhinged
    affected or as if affected with madness or insanity
    Other times I feel entirely unstitched or unhinged.
  43. infernal
    characteristic of or resembling Hell
    I can barely keep my head up, let alone get good grades so I can get the hell out of here and go to college. I have only a year and a half left, but it feels eternal. It feels infernal.
  44. tabloid
    sensationalist journalism
    Apá is watching Primer Impacto, that horrible tabloid news show that covers the most bizarre stories—Siamese twins, exorcisms, child abuse, hauntings, disfigured people.
  45. perpetually
    without interruption
    “Are you lying to me?” Amá always asks so many questions. I feel perpetually interrogated.
Created on January 26, 2018 (updated January 30, 2018)

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