I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. Finished 1-6-18, 4.25/5, YA, pub, 2017
Unabridged audio read by Kyla Garcia. 9 hours 41 minutes.
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? from Goodreads
I don’t read a lot of YA books, but last year The Hate U Give ended up being a favorite and this one, a National Book Award for Young People Finalist, also satisfied my desire to learn about American lives so different from my own. Julia, a Mexican-American teen in Chicago, lost her sister to a freak accident and she struggles in the aftermath. Her sister was the perfect one, going to community college while living at home, and when she died Julia’s mother lost it. Julia is trying to understand her older sister after the fact and it leads her to surprising answers.
Julia is a teenager with some issues and she was trying at times, yet she did grow on me. I had sympathy for her cockroach infested apartment (been there and it was disgusting) and her embarrassment over being poor when she met a boy she was interested in, but it wasn’t until she was sent back to her family in Mexico for a visit that I began to really root for her. Julia is a memorable teen and I have high hopes for her future as a writer and for a relationship with Connor, her first love 🙂 I wouldn’t mind a follow up book at all!
This is an immigrant story, Julia’s parents are undocumented and used a coyote to cross the border, a mystery when she discovers her perfect sister had a secret, and a coming of age story with a heroine full of angst and mental health issues. This really is a relatively quick read that delves into many issues that will keep you engaged. I really liked this one.