You know in the Disney animated movie, Peter Pan, when Wendy and her brothers get sprinkled with pixie dust and start singing “We Can Fly?” Lupita would be happy to get past “I Can Float.” It’s been thirty minutes since she sprung airborne at the end of Quince #2 and the cold night air isn’t providing much to sing about. The ways of the graceful flyer are sealed. Maybe, if this were water, Lupita could find some relief floating on her back but artist, Emma Steinkellner, makes the attempt as uncomfortable and discombobulating as every other position. Lupita’s mood brews blacker and, tumbling in through the bedroom window, Abuela seems to have anticipated such an entrance. She’s seated at the edge of Lupe’s bed waiting for her.
Did she realize Lupe was outside these thirty minutes? She could’ve interrupted. Lupita would’ve quit floating early, if she’d known how. Too frazzled to be accusatory, Quince #3 is between grandmother and granddaughter and what a great relationship for writer, Kit Steinkellner, to unpack.
Eyes closed, and with a stillness almost too much to take, Abuela holds the wide-eyed Lupita with “yes” and “no” answers. No, Lupita’s not crazy. Yes, she has superpowers but yes, the stillness is too much to take. Using the word ‘snap’ sounds like Lupita gets angry at Abuela, but her steady voice has strayed too far from Lupita’s twitchy wave length. It makes their relationship stronger that Lupe is able to communicate this and be honest about how she’s struggling.
Gone are comforting assurances that come with new powers manifesting. Flying will not get better with practice. It’s always pretty lousy, but Abuela didn’t discover her powers flying. A flashback to two young girls celebrating their quincenera in 1960 takes a second to spot Abuela. She’s been pushed to the background of her own flashback! Unable to afford a quincenera, readers are told this by caption after viewing Emma’s art. If you looked past Abuela serving drinks on the side, because you expected her to be in the foreground, this smarts.
Abuela’s first power awakened is a jump on flying, but there’s still a huge difference in the way she responds to gaining abilities. Abuela embraced hers without reservation, seizing the party. Lupita got held up for thirty minutes. Is waiting her powers out Lupita’s best option, or could she find some good in them yet?
Available 3/15 in English and Spanish