Review: Becoming Naomi Leon

Book: Becoming Naomi Leon (2005)
Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars

Becoming_Naomi_LeónBasic Plot: Naomi Outlaw lives with her great-grandmother and younger brother. But then one day her mother shows up, ready to come back into their lives. Except, she only wants Naomi. But the grandmother has a plan to save her little family… a plan that involves a road-trip down to Mexico to seek out Naomi and Owen’s long-lost father.


1) I loved how protective Naomi and the grandmother were of Owen. I like, too, how they give the mother a chance.

2) But boy oh boy, I did not like the mother! Not only did she abandon the children, but she’s also changed her name to… Skyla. (Oh, the fakeness of that mother!) But I think what really got to me was her treatment of Owen, her own son. Even the mother’s boyfriend treated Owen better. (And yes, this is in the What’s Cool section because her portrayal was that good!)

3) One of my favourite parts of the book is when Gram and their neighbour decide to skip their favourite television show (a show they haven’t missed in years). This is the clue to the children that the grown-ups are serious about helping to save Owen!

4) I loved the Mexican culture in this book. I really enjoyed the radish-carving competition!


1) I almost wished they had gone to Mexico earlier in the story. Once they were there, it somehow didn’t seem like the same story. This should have been my favourite part of the book!

2) Also, once they were in Mexico, the grown-ups didn’t seem to be doing much to locate the father. They left things up to… Naomi?? (who makes a lot of expensive telephone calls). In the end, [SPOILER] it didn’t seem too hard to find the father. [End SPOILER]


My rating is 3 Stars (out of 5) – I liked Naomi and enjoyed this story. While its not my favourite book by Pam Munoz Ryan, it’s still worth the read.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Review: Becoming Naomi Leon

  1. This book has a special place in my heart as the first book I ever read with a protagonist who reflected my ethnicity! It really helped 10-year-old me learn to embrace that part of my heritage like Naomi does. I always point to this book as an example of the power of stories (especially multicultural ones!) to affirm minority children and show them that their culture has value. I really should go reread it–thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

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