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 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?
“How do we tie our shoes, brush our hair, drink coffee, wash the dishes, and go to sleep, pretending everything is fine? How do we laugh and feel happiness despite the buried things growing inside? How can we do that day after day?”
First, I would like to say that I liked the fact that this book was told in first person. Julia narrated (the main character). Even though I liked the book being told by Julia, after finishing the book I thought about how it would’ve been even more interesting if the narration would’ve been alternating between Julia and her mom. I got to hear some of the mother’s dialogue throughout the book but you know how most people don’t always say exactly what they are thinking.
Julia is a very well developed character. I admired her so much because she was so outspoken (WARNING: this book contains many cuss words) and very headstrong. I also thought she was very funny and this book needed the occasional humor.
This book is gritty and covered some hard core issues. Not only is Julia coping with the loss of her sister Olga but there are other underlining issues that haunt/taunt her. Here are a just few:
- She’s the daughter of undocumented Mexican parents
- She’s poor
- Suffers from depression
- Constant conflicts with her mother
- Mexican relatives that still reside in Mexico live in a dangerous neighborhood
- Learned about her parents troubling past while migrating to the United States
This book didn’t disappoint, my emotions were all over the place one minute I was laughing and then the next I was on the verge of tears. The issues covered in this book could easily be someone’s life who’s an immigrant. It’s a hard life and I think that’s the reason why I liked this book – there’s is no sugar coating the reality. I really liked the ending.
~Bottom Line: READ THIS BOOK!