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.
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.
lacking in physical beauty or proportion
She kind of looks like a
Her mascara started streaming down her face, which made her look like a
suffering from delusions of persecution or grandeur
paranoid, just a little confused and unfocused.
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.
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.
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.
He’d be handsome, if he weren’t so
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
approach and speak to someone aggressively or insistently
It feels like my mouth is being
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.
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.
having worldly knowledge and refinement
I feel like a frumpy dork when I talk to them because they seem so
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.”
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.
“What do you want books for at a party?" he
burn superficially or lightly
I feel the heat on my back,
singeing the ends of my hair.
having a play of lustrous rainbow colors
Their tails are
the group following and attending to some important person
He told her about the wild and crazy parties he frequents with his
a speech defect that involves mispronouncing "s" and "z"
The last substitute had a
lisp and wore a fanny pack.
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.
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.”
disturb, especially by minor irritations
Just hearing his name
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.
show submission or fear
After about ten minutes of
groveling, though, it’s clear she’s not having any of it.
move or walk stealthily
I’m just waiting until my parents go to bed so I can
slink out of the apartment.
being very thin
The few trees on the street are
scrawny and have already lost most of their leaves.
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.
in a state of decay, ruin, or deterioration
I can’t wait to get out of our
dilapidated apartment one day.
extremely unpleasant or annoying
Even as a kid, I thought she was
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.
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.”
spread by scattering
There are clothes and shoes
strewn everywhere, too.
rub hard or scrub
The fumes burn the inside of my nose as I
scour the stove.
“It’s okay,” I lie. The truth is that school is
excruciating. I love reading and learning, but I can't stand everything else.
cause aversion in
repulsed look on her face, Amá dusts all of the statues.
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.
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.
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
a state of misfortune or affliction
The plotlines are always the same, too—a poor woman overcomes
affected or as if affected with madness or insanity
Other times I feel entirely unstitched or
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
Apá is watching Primer Impacto, that horrible
tabloid news show that covers the most bizarre stories—Siamese twins, exorcisms, child abuse, hauntings, disfigured people.
“Are you lying to me?” Amá always asks so many questions. I feel