Fuego, Laura del. Maravilla. ISBN: 0915745151. $22.95.

La Mujer Latina Series. "I named you Consuelo," my mother said, "because you didn't stop screaming for hours when you were born. I figured you needed hope." To Consuelo Concepción, "Cece" Contreres, however, hope seems to be just about all she's got. So when her boyfriend is cheating on her, her friends are doing drugs, and her parents don't understand her, is it any wonder that the only person she can talk to is St. Teresa de Avila? From the housing projects of East Los Angeles, Maravilla, to the lively scene of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district in the 1960s, Laura del Fuego's novel tells the absorbing and personal tale of a young Chicana, like many in real life, making her way in turbulent times. It is a thoughtful and sometimes violent story about coming of age in the heart of the barrio, discovering one's self in the midst of chaos and trying to make sense of a troubled life. An outstanding young writer, Del Fuego knits a complex weave whereby her heroine progresses through the barrios of East Los Angeles during the effervescent years of the 1960's.

Unlike, García Márquez' narrative that centers on political turmoil and violence, Del Fuego's bring us the asphalt jungle, violence in the inner city barrio, which equally unsettle and destroy the Latino pathos. This new height of writing style and drama is a welcome addition to the selected group of Hispanic women writers. Most highly recommended.

The Maravilla projects in East Los Angeles, the setting of this novel, became the den and cauldron where many Latino/Mexican American gangs emerged. Maravilla became a gang in East Los Angeles which broke up into many cliques of Maravilla. Maravilla gangs were the first ones to turn against the South Side gangs bearing the label Greenlighters, TAX FREE. The Maravilla gangs that formed in East Los Angeles developed the most notorious reputation for being violent and ruthless. High Times Maravilla (HTS MV, HTS x MVP), Maravilla Projects (MVP), Rock Maravilla (RMV), Juarez Maravilla (JMV), Raskals Maravilla (Raskals MV), Hoyo Maravilla (HMV), Lopez Maravilla (LMV), Lote Maravilla (LMR), Gage Maravilla (GMV), Home Boyz Maravilla (HBMV), Ford Maravilla (FMV), Frazier Maravilla (FRMV), Maravilla Rifa (MVR), Opal Maravilla (OMV), Moeriya Maravilla (MYA MV), Lomita Maravilla (LMA MV, LA MV), Pomeroy Maravilla (PMV), the little known Fisher St. Lokos Maravilla Projects (FSL MV, FSL x MVP), and my enemigas Marianna Maravilla (MMV), and Arizona Maravilla (AMV, AZA MV).