As one of my most anticipated books of the year, I held off a day before I actually picked up I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez. After the wait, I couldn’t put it down and I am absolutely in love with this story. If you’re on the fence about reading it, hopefully, my review will convince you otherwise.
Here’s the blurb for the book: “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?”
What I liked about I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
- The plot. The plot is basically Julia and her family adjusting to life without her sister, Olga. It’s also partly a coming-of-age story for Julia and the rebuilding of her life after losing someone so close to her. It reminds me a lot of We Are Okay by Nina Lacour.
- Julia. Our main character, Julia is such a wonderful character. She’s a realistic portrayal of a teenager and she reacts in all the ways I would have a lot of her situation. She’s a flawed but lovable character who I couldn’t help but root for.
- Julia’s parents. Julia’s parents were at times, difficult to understand. I would scratch my head, wondering why they acted a certain way or why they treated Julia a certain way. Throughout the book, Sanchez told such a wonderful story about them and gave them a great backstory. By the end, you’ll learn to love and appreciate them.
- Mexican culture. As far as Mexican rep goes, I can’t speak to that. However, I can say Sanchez included a lot of nods to Mexican culture. She paints such a vivid picture of the culture, what they value, their celebrations and the differences between life in Mexico and America. It’s at times saddening, but also hopeful.
- The romance. Connor was such a well-meaning but at times, embarrassing love interest. Their romance played out naturally and I loved seeing how their relationship progressed throughout the novel. He made some questionable choices, but I think that was one of the most realistic parts.
- Getting to know Olga. The over-arching mystery is us and Julia finding out Olga’s secrets. It’s such a huge plotline in the story and I couldn’t have been more surprised when I learned more about her. I loved the resolution and how Julia dealt with the secrets she learned about her sister.
- Mental illness and grief talk. Since a large part of the book focuses on Olga’s death, there’s a lot of talk about grief and mental illness. I loved seeing how the different characters worked out their grief and how mental illness played a role in the story.
- The cover. It’s gorgeous, beautiful and actually does relate to the story in a way. I could stare at it all day.
What I disliked about I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
- Julia. You might think this is strange, but hear me out. I liked Julia as a character, but I think sometimes, she was too hard on her parents. She would act bratty and a little bit over-the-top when they were just trying to help and understand her.
- The ending. I know, I know. I always have something to say about the ending, but here I just wanted more. I wanted an epilogue or something to keep Julia’s story going. I wanted to see a glimpse of her future and if she truly was able to achieve her dreams.
- Julia’s friends. I didn’t understand why Julia was friends with such terrible people. I especially disliked Lorena who put her down and made offhand comments about Olga. It was absolutely uncalled for and childish. I wish Julia had a friend who was supportive and there for her in the novel.
Honestly, there isn’t much for me to complain about. I had sky-high expectations and this book surpassed them all. I could go on and on about how well-written it is and how much I loved almost everything. I can’t wait to see what Erika L. Sanchez writes next because I will absolutely be first in line to pick it up.
I give I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter a 5 out of 5 stars.
Have you read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter? If not, are you planning on it? If you have read, feel free to hit me on Twitter so we can discuss!