Olor a perfume de viejita

By Luis Humberto Crosthwaite, Claudia Guadalupe Martínez

Paperback: forthcoming


La novela para jovenes de Claudia Martínez es una historia agridulce sobre la muerte, familia, y la resistencia de la fuerza emocional del corazón. Chela Gonzalez, la narradora del libro, es una nerd y futbolista que apenas puede contener su emoción de empezar el sexto grado. Pero nada es como se lo había imaginado --su mejor amiga la deja para juntarse con las niñas populares y ellas todas hacen como si no existe Chela. Ella se enfoca en tarea y el consuelo de su familia. Para Chela, su familia es como el sistema solar, con su papá el sol y su mamá, hermanos, y hermana como planetas rodeando alrededor de el. Es el único universo en el que ella encaja.

Pero ese universo es amenazado cuando su papá sufré de un derrame cerebral. La abuela de Chela se viene a vivir con ellos para ayudarles. El olor a perfume de viejita invade la casa. El olor es peor que los domingos. Los domingos eran tristes, pero siempre pasaban, la muerte es otra cosa completa. Chela no entiende es lo que todos están esperando. Entre su tristeza y preocupación, Chela empieza a descubrirse a si misma, y encuentra su propia fuerza.


Claudia Martínez's novel for young adults is a bittersweet story about death, family and the resilient emotional strength of the human heart. Chela Gonzalez, the book’s narrator, is a nerd and a soccer player who can barely contain her excitement about starting the sixth grade. But nothing is as she imagined--her best friend turns on her to join the popular girls and they all act like Chela doesn’t exist. She buries herself in schoolwork and in the warm comfort of her family. To Chela, her family is like a solar system, with her father the sun and her mother, brothers and sister like planets rotating all around him. It’s the only universe in which she fits in.

But that universe is threatened when her strong father has a stroke. Chela’s grandmother moves in to help the family. The smell of her old lady perfume invades the house. That smell is worse than Sundays. Sundays were sad, but they went just as sure as they came, but death was a whole other thing, and Chela doesn’t understand that’s what everyone is waiting for. In her grief and worry, Chela begins to discover herself and find her own strength.

About the Creators

Thumb_bio_luishumbertocrosthwaite Luis Humberto Crosthwaite - Author

Luis Humberto Crosthwaite was born in Tijuana, Mexico, on February 28th, 1962. Pisces (so what else is new?). Son of Aurora, also called "La Yoya." Crosses into the United States "legally" since birth. Learned English by watching The Flintstones (still doesn't understand why yabadabadoo isn't in Webster's). Teresa's husband (thank God). Tall guy with glasses. Father of Santiago and Josue. Jefe at a small press called Yoremito (but who isn't?). Whoever looks into his heart can see the Pacific Ocean. Ah, those beautiful sunsets! Chinese food. Several books. Beer. Artichokes. Did I mention Teresa's big brown eyes?

Thumb_claudia_martinez_photo_credit_alicia_de_la_o Claudia Guadalupe Martínez - Author

Claudia Guadalupe Martínez has called Mexico and the US home. Her core childhood memories are set in El Paso, Texas. This dynamic of growing up between borders inspires her writing. She is the recipient of two Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult Book Awards, a Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, an Américas Award Commendation, a Junior Library Guild Award, and multiple starred reviews. She now lives with her family in Illinois. You can find her at