Wednesday, January 13, 2016

[Feature Filipino] Book Review: When Cocoy Became Kikay

When Cocoy Became Kikay
By C. P. Santi
March 25, 2015
Middle Grade, Young-Adult, Contemporary

I'm amazed at how much I actually related to Cocoy as a character. Reading about her friends and her complicated relationship with Jaime transported me to a time when I experienced something very eerily similar.

Before I started reading the story, I thought that this was a classic make-over trope -- something I'm neutral about. I don't particularly like it, but I don't hate it either. When I started reading about Cocoy's boyish ways, she reminded me of myself. I was a tomboy in high school, and even up to College. I was on the basketball varsity team, and most of my barkada were guys. I was even suspected of being involved in same-sex relationships when the high school administration made a crackdown. When a teacher asked me to my face, I looked at her incredulously. This was an experience that was awkward as hell, but still makes me laugh to this day. What I'm trying to say is that, saying I relate to Cocoy is an understatement. What she experienced was something I experienced, too, which was why this story hit too close to home for me. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who experienced, or is experiencing something similar.

Cocoy has a solid and strong voice. She knows her Art of War tactics very well, which is something I also really liked about her. She's my kind of girl! I also really appreciate her friends who were very discernible from one another. You will not get confused about who is who. I also really liked that, for such a short one, it packs so many things that I'm very sure a teenage-reader would be able to relate to. It's all about being comfortable in your own skin, never having to say sorry for who you really are, and to chase after your dreams no matter how hard it may seem. It's about not dulling your shine simply because people aren't comfortable with what you can do. 

The only downside though, is that, I think it needs a glossary for the Filipino words. This is for the benefit of international readers, who are not familiar with the setting and the Filipino jargon. All in all though, I think this was a very pleasant read, and I would recommend it to everyone.

Cocoy’s not-so-secret dream is to one day become a gun-toting, ass-kicking secret agent. But she has another dream—and this time, even her best friends don’t have a clue—she dreams of someone. Problem is, she finds out that Jaime Arguelles—a.k.a. the guy she’d been secretly crushing on for years—likes girls who . . . well . . . like pink.
To Cocoy’s logical mind, there’s only one solution: it’s time to go girly. After all, how hard can it be?
With the help of her friends, Cocoy embarks on a pink-tinged journey that somehow turns her neat and orderly life upside down. But it’s all good—because in the midst of her blossoming relationship, Cocoy learns a whole lot about life, love, dreams, and friendship . . . and about the healing power of pan de sal, Chippy, and Nutella.

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