Proud to Be Me Rosalinda
by Jesse Moreno
Stratton Press

"Her adrenaline flowed through her body, just waiting for the fight to start. Nothing was going to stop her from fighting the top contender."

Rosalinda Escobar is a young woman leaving Texas by bus and heading out to Los Angeles to start an adventure and a new chapter of her life. Arriving with no money and only the friend she made on the bus ride there, Rosalinda scrapes by working odd jobs and living in a studio apartment. Eventually, she lands a comfortable job as a waitress in a cafe until a patron trips her intentionally. The two women begin to fight, and Rosalinda ends up defeating the customer, who happens to be a champion boxer. Though she is fired, Rosalinda discovers a new passion in boxing, a mission that drives her to push herself harder than she ever imagined. With her trainer Simon and her boyfriend Rob, she climbs her way up the boxing ranks, overcoming tremendous obstacles on the path to the top.

Punctuated by dramatic circumstances and a swooping fall from grace, Rosalinda’s story is not all that different from the lifestyles of real-life immigrants. While her skills and talent give her a shot at fame and fortune, a single misstep or bad luck could take away every part of her life she has worked for. That tension is ever-present; even as she defeats boxer after boxer, the audience knows that there are some secrets in her past, or that her rise is too good to be true. The author does a good job of paying off that expectation while simultaneously subverting it, giving the reader that rush of needing one more chapter without making Rosalinda’s troubles unrealistic. The elements of sports fiction, human drama, and an outsider’s perspective all work in coordination to create a story and a character that pull the reader in on every page. The result is a book that leaves readers cheering for more.

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