Meet, Maranyalie Torres, a sixteen-year-old from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Marita—as she prefers to be called—is creative, fun-loving, and is inspired by music. She is an accomplished singer and guitarist and recently wowed audiences in the female lead role, playing Dulcinea in her high school musical Man of La Mancha.
Read on as Marita shares her thoughts on being young and Puerto Rican, and on the new novel DANTE’S KISS, set in her island home.
Hey! My Name is Maranyalie Torres and I am a sixteen year old Puerto Rican. I consider myself to be a creative person and always look forward to doing new things that involve music, theater or creative writing. My friends think I’m a little goofy and crazy but that’s just part of my personality and the main reason we get along so good.
Being born Puerto Rican for me has been a blessing. I live close to the beach, and often visit the surroundings of my beautiful island. The society here comes in all shapes and sizes but I fit in perfectly with the teenagers in my school. Most of us just like to create our own ways of having fun, and enjoy seeing life with another type of vision.
I prefer to read in English and that’s how I found out about this book DANTE’S KISS. If I were to identify myself with a character from the book I’d have to choose Salena. She is the kind of teenager that acts like the crowd but at the end of the day she has her own personality and talents to share with the world. She also has built these sentimental walls for her not to get hurt, and even though my situation is different, I can identify with that part of her.
My favorite scene in DANTE’S KISS was when Dante got accepted into the music school. I felt like I knew right away the sensation because I am in a music school too and trust me it is not that easy to pass an audition. Other scenes I enjoyed a lot were whenever Dante was with his little sister. It showed the soft side of him and I thought that was very sweet.
As a Puerto Rican teen one of the biggest challenges I have faced is the people with no morality and a cold heart. These people usually have low self-esteem and always find a way to blame others for it. Just like Jadiel when he got jealous and tried to mess up Dante’s life. Another challenge is growing up knowing that the world thinks so wrongly about us Puerto Ricans, just because some decide to get violent and ruin our Puerto Rican reputation whenever they lose control of themselves.
From this book (DANTE’S KISS) I feel teenagers can understand that we all go through similar situations but that with the right choices we can survive. We can also learn about the value of love and sacrifice, which is so important now-a-days. I hope this is never lost. These values are what Kiriela let us feel throughout the book.
If I were to complain about one thing about my parents it would be that they could be very over protective sometimes and that gets me extremely mad. It seems like they don’t understand how tough being a teenager can be. We go through so many changes and emotions. It’s not easy to deal with all of them at once. That’s why it hurts me when people judge us. Everybody has a story behind their actions but it’s the understanding that might make a difference in all of us. This is just like the feeling that Kiriela had of protecting people, she knew that understanding could mean change.
I want the world to know that Puerto Rican teens are just like any normal teens in the world. We have our own weird styles, we feel, we fall in love and we get our hearts broken to just fall in love once again. Not many of us like reading but there’s a low percent that makes the difference, just like me.
Read DANTE’S KISS. It was incredible. At the end it gives the opportunity to reflect and think about the things that really matter the most: our families, our sacrifices and our love.
Thanks, Marita, for sharing your thoughts. I hope that through your words the world will come to know the real Puerto Rico and the beauty of it’s people.