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Latina Girls Festively Come of Age

Aug 6, 2007 (Morning Edition)

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More than 350,000 Latina girls will turn 15 this year, and for many of them that means a big bash. The "quinceanera" is celebrated across Latin America and the United States. It's a rite of passage, and a growing industry, in the United States. The average quinceanera dress can cost hundreds of dollars.

Novelist Julia Alvarez has written a lot about what it means to come to this country, something she did at 10 years old when she and her family fled the Dominican Republic. She's well known for the novel How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. And in her first nonfiction book, Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA, she takes on the cultural celebration she missed as an adolescent.

Alvarez shares aspects of the ceremonies with Renee Montagne.

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