Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel, by Diana Lopez (book review) – cancer, promesas, and friendship

book cover of Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel by Diana Lopez published by Little BrownBlack means super stressed-out,
Yellow is imaginative,
Pink means fearful and also breast cancer awareness – coincidence?

Experiencing such a range of emotions in one day is fairly common for teens, and Chia’s mood ring reflects that clearly after her mom is diagnosed with breast cancer.

So much that I loved about this book: Chia and her friends ask questions about surgery and cancer that grownups are often too polite to voice. They enjoy both paletas  and Baskin-Robbins ice cream. The girls have nicknamed their guy-friend Gumwad (always chewing gum and blowing bubbles) and he’s fine with that.

Chia gets mad at her family for little things and loves them unconditionally through the big things, like the family trip to make promesas at the shrine of the Virgen de San Juan and Mom taking Chia with her to pick out her post-op prosthesis.

And the author gets so much right about San Antonio that it feels like you’re there. Grab this summer 2013 release today at your favorite local library or independent bookstore.


Book info: Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel / Diana Lopez. Little Brown, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Erica’s plans for a fun summer turn upside down as her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer and the eighth grader makes a promesa  to help Mom recover after surgery (mood ring=anxious).

All Chia (yes, Erica collects Chia pets) wanted was time with friends before their last year of junior high and a close encounter with a guy on her Boyfriend Wish List (mood ring=happy), but the sudden discovery of Mom’s cancer makes her head babysitter for her academically precocious little sister and always-active toddler brother (mood ring=unsettled).

Before the surgery, the family travels from San Antonio to a church in the Rio Grande Valley where people ask for miracles and celebrate healing, making promesas  to God, promises that they will do good things in thankfulness. Chia decides her promesa will be signing up 500 people as sponsors for the annual breast cancer awareness walk (mood ring=hopeful).

But fulfilling her promesa is more difficult than she anticipated – so many people turn away from her request to sponsor her in the walk (mood ring=angry)!

Can Chia juggle schoolwork, her friends, and getting sponsors signed up?
Will Mom make a full recovery from her surgery and treatments?
Is Chia’s Boyfriend Wish List going to crumble into dust before she gets her first kiss?

Supportive friends and freedom to ask the tough questions about cancer allow Chia to consult her mood ring, wonder if Shawtae’s dreams will ever predict something accurately, and daydream about boys and growing up in this true reflection of life in South Texas today.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on

One thought on “Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel, by Diana Lopez (book review) – cancer, promesas, and friendship

  1. My 8th grader would love this! We visited San Antonio a few years ago and I love how this books shows what life in S. Texas is like. Thanks for linking up! I hope you can join us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Jan 27th. You have such wonderful book reviews!

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