Recently I have been so impressed by the amazing writing and topics that I have been encountering in YA literature. Sometimes YA books tend to approach tough subjects in the same linear way, but, sometimes, like in I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez, it hits you with feeling, emotion, and understanding in an entirely new way.
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?
Nothing about this book is lighthearted. Nothing about it indicates that there will be a happy ending. You won’t ever warm up to most of the characters, including Julia. But there is raw emotion and hope that the main character sometimes feels which will touch you all the same. Sanchez makes you feel the depression crawling into Julia’s skin like it was your own. You feel oppressed and misunderstood just as Julia does by her extremely overbearing and controlling parents. This book is one of my five star books of last year. A MUST READ!