Genre: Young Adult Realistic Contemporary Fiction
Pages: Print 344
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Author: Erika L. Sanchez
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a copy I borrowed from my local library. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.
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?
This book starts with Julia losing her sister in a terrible accident but ends with a well-developed plot twist. Julia is a junior in high school who has the brains and individuality to lead the world astray. She is the black sheep of her family and continues to feel this way even more after losing her sister. Julia’s sister was considered perfect. Always willing to stay home to cook with her mother, went to school, and remained in town to work a receptionist job. Julia is the complete opposite; she is rebellious, loves alternative music, loves to read, and enjoys time alone. She wants to go to college in another city and pursue an English degree. Her mother, dealing with the loss of her sister, continues to push Julia telling her why can’t she be more like her sister Olga. Her mother continues to berate her for wanting to go out to parties, hang out with her friends, or resemble a lifestyle of a rebellious teen.
To make matters worse, her father is mute and ignores her, she is behind in school, and she feels something is missing about her sister. As Julia copes with the loss of her sister, and the pressures of her mother, she works to uncover the secrets of her sister. While doing so, she discovers the secrets of her mother and father. She realizes that some secrets are better left as secrets; otherwise, they ruin the lives of those that are living. Can Julia learn to deal with the disappointment from her mother, the silence from her father, and the pressure to perform? Or will she crumble in the process?
The author does a fantastic job with the development of the main characters and the supporting characters. The story of Julia and her sister Olga shed light on the challenges of migrating to the United States. I loved the fact that I was able to read about her parent’s migration story. I felt that added to the story and the development of Julia’s character. The author’s realistic approach to telling this story emphasizes the emotions; I felt the same feelings the characters did. I highly recommend this book to any middle schooler or high schooler who has parents that migrated. I also think it is essential to encourage people of all races to read this book to inform them of the challenges immigrants face.
This book does contain content associated with suicidal (including suicidal thoughts), mental health, depression, and anxiety. Proceed with caution when reading this if you have experienced any of these or know someone who has.
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Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!
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