I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez (344 pages)
Overview: Julia is the only child her parents have left after her sister Olga dies. And to make matters worse, Olga was the perfect Mexican daughter. She did everything right. Cooked, cleaned, and had no ambition, as far as Julia could tell. There's no way for fiery Julia who dreams of becoming a writer in New York City to fill those shoes. She'd rather die than become a housewife. While Julia learns that maybe her perfect sister had her own secrets, there's nothing she can do to make her mother ease the pressure weighing her down. Julia just has to make it out of high school, out of Chicago. Overall: 5
Characters: 5 I love Julia. She's very relatable in the jaded way that she sees the world, but her pessimism is warranted. Everyone around her seems perfectly happy living, what she sees as a dead end life. It is interesting to see her interact with the people around her from her parents and other relatives who carry their secret, immigrant pasts, to the rich boy she meets at the used bookstore. She makes everyone around her appear rich and vibrant.
Plot: 5 This story explored a lot of roads I hadn't expected. While, at first, it seems like it will be a story about uncovering the past of her dead sister while she works to improve her life, the story becomes so much more, delving deeply into her family beyond Olga, and beyond the US border. We get to experience her culture, even elements that she doesn't understand herself having grown up in the United States. It also conquers love and the tangle that relationships wind both in her own life and her friends.
Writing: 5 Sanchez blew me away with this book. The simple sentences strung together make for a narrative that flows easily, making the reading easy while the mind works over the multitude of themes she has infused into her novel. While I was excited to see Sanchez's take on the first generation American experience, I did not anticipate how deeply she explored the meanings of all the relationships in our lives as well as mental illness. This novel certainly didn't shy away from melding all the elements of life to create a realistic novel. To Buy The Book: Click Here
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