The Girls from the Revolutionary Cantina A Novel

M. Padilla

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

368 Pages



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From the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize-winning author of Hard Language, comes Padilla's first novel of modern friendship and identity. Inspired by their good-natured rivalry, career-oriented best friends Julia Juarez and Ime Benevides have never let anything come between them. Now, Julia's new coworker, Ilario, pulls both women's heartstrings, disrupts their friendship, and brings Julia's career to the brink of disaster.

Looking for support, Julia turns to her other friends: Concepción, a crazed dance instructor; Nina, a timid but shrewd seamstress who's not too taken with her fiancé; and Marta, owner of the Revolutionary Cantina. When they involve Julia in a risky scheme, she must choose between her loyalty to her friends and a chance to live the life she's worked so hard to achieve.

With humor and a clear sense of Southern Californian culture, this hilarious, insightful debut novel brilliantly captures the comforts and dangers of friendship.


Praise for The Girls from the Revolutionary Cantina

“Who needs sisters when you have friends like the girls from the Revolutionary Cantina? Padilla’s debut novel delivers plenty of laughter, a pinch of intrigue and a whole lot of drama. Readers will be so eager to find out what happens next, they won’t be able to put this down.”—Margo Candela, author of More Than This

"A heartfelt, honest story of how career, men and misunderstandings can rock the best of friendships. A natural-born writer, Padilla has an ear for dialogue and razor sharp wit that brings to life these flawed and intriguing heroines."—Mary Castillo, author of Switchcraft

"Two best friends from the San Fernando Valley find their friendship tested in Padilla's lively first novel (after story collection Hard Language). Sales rep Julia Juarez and realtor Ime Benevides have developed close bonds with zany dance teacher Concepción and quiet seamstress Nina, who's wondering if she should marry her off and on boyfriend. After Ime begins dating Julia's secret office crush and Concepción's old frenemy returns to wreak emotional havoc on Nina, each woman must re-examine how to maintain their friendships and stay true to their own desires. Adding extra juice to the sometimes thin string of work and love problems is a hilarious subplot about a celebrity with serious issues."—Publishers Weekly

Priase for
Hard Language: Stories

"Padilla's writing is intimate, evocative, and often heartbreaking and suprising."—Booklist

"Fresh and free of cliché . . . shed[s] a warm light on Latino lives in the U.S."—Publishers Weekly

"This collection, with . . . avowedly realistic stories about contemporary Mexican-Americans—both in California and Tijuana—[and] people struggling in love, work, and life, shows off the sharp talent of a fine new writer . . . Padilla has a keen sense of what goes on between men and women on both sides of the border."—Alan Cheuse, NPR

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Risks and Opportunities
Even now Julia cringed to think about it: how she must have appeared to him, caught standing in the middle of his office, riffling through his things. Monica from his sales group had assured her he was gone for the day, so how could she resist peeking in to see what she could learn about him—this company hero with the stunning gray eyes, ese hot papi chulo, as her friend Concepción called him. She’d wanted a closer look at the photo on his desk, the one of the San Fernando Valley beauty queen rumored once to have been his fiancée. Satisfied
Read the full excerpt


  • M. Padilla

  • M. Padilla is a winner of the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize and a California Arts Council artist fellowship. Padilla lives in West Hollywood, California.





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