The beginning of this compelling story immediately hooked me in. It starts with the narrator describing how her dead sister looks, her smug smile, and the ugly dress she was wearing. I was immediately compelled, wanting to know more about the sister and how she died. Right away I knew that this book, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez, would be awesome. And it was.
This book centers around a Mexican-American family dealing with the loss of their daughter, Olga. Olga was perfect; she helped around the house, never complained, and only went to three places: school, work, and home. Olga was your perfect Mexican daughter. Julia, unfortunately, was not. And since Olga was her parents’ favorite, everyone blames Olga’s death on Julia. But when Julia finds clues that lead her to think that Olga wasn’t as perfect as everyone thought she was, she is determined to find out more. And, as she goes through quinceaneras, love, and self-hate, not only does Julia figure out who Olga was, she starts to figure out herself, even if it isn’t completely clear.
I enjoyed this book because it gave me a view into the life of someone whose scenario was much different than mine. Julia (the main character), is a first-generation Mexican American, so her ethnicity is different than mine, because I am a second-generation Filipino American. Additionally because she is in high school, she worries about college, and she goes to parties that are NOT like the parties I usually had before the coronavirus. But, there were a lot of things this book I could relate to. Julia and her mom (Ama) fight a lot, and don’t always agree with each other. Sometimes I feel like my mom and I are completely different people, because we argue and have very different personalities.
Also, I loved how the story was very deep and meaningful, but also really funny, which is what I love to see in books. It was also very diverse, because Julia has a quinceanera, she pronounces her name with an H, and goes to Mexico at one point of in the book. I believe Hispanic teens will really enjoy seeing themselves represented in this story. Or, people like me will enjoy learning about a different culture and heritage.
This book is definitely for teens 12 and up. There is a lot of swearing, and there are many mature topics and scenes in the book. I had to ask my mom about some of the things mentioned. Yet overall, this is a book you can learn from and a book that you keep your eyes on, awaiting what’s next.
I rate this book four out of four roses! My favorite character was definitely Julia’s English teacher, because he supported her when other people didn’t, and also helped her get into her dream college. Check out this book!!