Review: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez


Title: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Author: Erika L. Sánchez
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 344 Pages
Published October 2017


Summary: 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?


[TW: Rape, Suicide Attempt]


My review for this book was originally written for and posted on TeenReads.com. When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued and I wanted to know more about it, so I added it to my TBR. And then when TeenReads reached out to me asking if I wanted to review it, I was super excited and said yes, because I've heard nothing but great things about this book. So without further ado, let's get into the review.

As the summary explains, Julia is still reeling from the loss of her older sister Olga, who was the shining star of her family, the perfect Mexican daughter that Julia felt she should never be. To make matters worse, it feels like her parents don't understand her and she feels like all she wants is independence, even though that's the last thing they want to give her. And that's not all -- after Olga's death, Julia does some snooping, and she finds out some things about her older sister that she never saw coming. Big, serious things. Things that would completely rock her parents' view of their perfect Mexican daughter. But the question is, will she tell them?

I definitely enjoyed reading this book. There were a lot of twists and turns that I didn't see coming, so Erika is really great at weaving those little aspects into the story to surprise you. The book itself was also a really easy read, and I found myself reading over 250 pages in a single day, because it was that easy to sit down and lose myself in this book. If you're looking for a story that won't take you a million years to get through, then I'd definitely recommend picking this one up, because the story progresses so quickly that you'll find yourself flying through it.

There were a few things about this book that I wasn't a huge fan of, however. One of the things that really confused me about this book was how quickly time jumped during certain parts. The entirety of the book is told in a two-year span, but there are some moments that completely get skipped over or fast-forwarded even though you think they're going to be central points in the story. For example, the quince! The story builds up to the moment like it's supposed to be something big, but then it comes and goes in the narrative super quickly, leaving me feeling confused. There were a lot of moments like that in the story, where things felt brushed over or sped past in ways that made me think we'd come back to them later, but then we didn't. (SPOILER INCOMING, SKIP TO NEXT PARAGRAPH) A big one for me was Julia's self-harm attempt, which is briefly alluded to but never really explained, and you completely jump from her in Milennial Park to her in the hospital, and that's really it. No flashback, no real explanation, nothing. It just felt like the book was jumping past some pretty major parts for me, which left me feeling a bit...cheated, I guess? 

(Spoilers here, skip to the next paragraph to ignore them!) Another thing that I was a little bit confused with was the whole Olga scenario. You find out some pretty major stuff about her, but not much seems to really be done about it. I just couldn't believe that, and it shocked me because you find out some pretty intense stuff, and then it's kind of brushed under the rug. What was up with that?

Overall, I enjoyed reading I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. This book definitely covers a lot of important topics worth talking about, especially regarding family dynamics and the difficult flip-flop of emotions that comes along with loss. If you're looking for a new book to pick up with a snarky, sarcastic narrator that makes you laugh and snort with surprise, then I'd definitely recommend picking up this book!

Did you read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter? Share your thoughts in the comments down below!



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