Author: Erika L. Sánchez
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Mexican-American
Number of pages: 344
Time it took me to read: 7 Days
Synopsis: Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.
But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.
Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?
Okay, I have to start out with a confession. When I started this read, the first few chapters seemed to go on forever and I put the book down several times, thus the reason it took me an entire week to get through (very unusual for me). It wasn’t that the first part was bad writing, boring or anything like that. It was just too slow for me. I really thought this was going to be added to my DNF list. I am so GLAD I stuck with it.
This read pulled at so many of my emotions. First, I laughed my butt off. Julia is one witty and funny character. I listen to the audio and every time my twelve-year-old daughter was in the room she laughed right along with me. I cried at the sad parts and while there weren’t that many my tears flooded when they did appear. And I felt Julia’s frustration with her life and the circumstances she had to go through.
Looking back, I don’t think the book was slow. I think I had just come off this high from reading two books from the same series. I had devoured those books in two days, well over 1,000 pages. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is not that kind of book. It is one of those books that you need to grab a good cup of coffee, a warm blanket and sit by the window with and savor each and every page.
This is a book that reaches down into your soul and demands your attention. There are so many lessons to learn from this read, from how mental illness affects everyone differently, how the intersections of cultures affect individuals, and even how people mourn differently.
I highly recommend it to English teachers everywhere, to parents, children, and the rest of the world. I cannot say enough good things about this book.
Find out more about the book and Erika Sánchez here