Teen Volunteer Review: The Prince of Los Cocuyos

This summer, Boston Public Library's teen volunteer program has gone remote! As part of this program, local high schoolers will be sharing their thoughts on books, movies, and more on our blog. Today, Boston Latin School student Elizabeth Choi is sharing her opinions on one of her summer reading books: The Prince of Los Cocuyos.

I’d give The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood by Richard Blanco 3 out of 5 stars. The memoir was part of my summer reading and probably not a book I would find on my own. However, it was a fast and entertaining read. 

Riqui Blanco, an immigrant in Miami, navigates life while balancing both his Cuban roots and his fascination with America. He experiences friendship, loss, and love along the way, and ultimately discovers his identity. Writing in captivating prose, Blanco’s words enthrall the reader in this both poignant and heartwarming celebration of his life.

I liked how Blanco devoted each chapter to an event that shaped himself. They were short enough to keep the reader’s attention, yet long enough to be well developed. I admit I even started tearing up at the end -- what can I say, I became invested in the plot and characters -- but then a typo (“Id” instead of “I’d”) quickly shifted my saccharine feeling into irritation. Similar abrupt changes in my mood occurred frequently throughout the book in various ways. At one moment, Riqui was endearing; at another, he was frustrating.

Most of the characters were likable, and the ones who weren’t still added to the narrative. However, I wish Blanco wrote more in-depth stories about his relationship with his brother, as the book itself is dedicated to him. He was included in very few of the anecdotes and played a minor role. Perhaps the brothers grew close only after the book’s conclusion, but even diving into the early stages of their relationship would have been interesting.

Though it was beautifully written, it would be realistic to say that I’ll forget the majority of its content in a couple of years. I’m glad I read it, but it’s not a book I would read again.