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The Cougar Star

The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star

The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star

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Review: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

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Amelia Bai
“I Am Not Your Mexican Daughter” was written by Erika L. Sanchez, and was published in October of 2017.

Julia Reyes is not your perfect Mexican daughter. She is bold, never afraid to voice her opinions, and has dreams of going far, far away from the slums of Chicago to study English. Perfect Mexican daughters are not supposed to be loud, opinionated or independent. They are supposed to get a steady but boring job, be obedient and polite, and always, always put family first. Julia’s older sister– shiny, perfect and polished Olga, filled that role easily. To Julia’s parents, Olga could never do anything wrong.

But one day, on one of the busiest streets of Chicago, Olga was walking a little too fast. Maybe she was in a hurry, or maybe it was just the spur-of-the-moment. Either way, Olga was hit by a semi-truck. And just like that, she was gone.

Without their perfect, rule-abiding daughter, Julia’s family is in fractures. Her mother won’t get out of bed. Her father will barely look at her. And everyone seems so eager to point out all the ways that Julia is not the perfect Mexican daughter.

But then Julia discovers something within the depths of Olga’s closet. Something that makes Julia rethink everything that Olga ever was. Was Olga really what she seemed? How much was she really hiding? And how can Julia even begin to fathom… everything?

“I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” was published in October of 2017, written by Erika L. Sanchez, is a New York Times best seller and a National Book Award finalist.

I have to warn you, Julia is not a likable character. If you’re not into that, then this book is not for you. The thing is, I genuinely don’t think Julia was ever meant to be likable. To put it simply, Julia is not nice; she’s judgmental, constantly angry and depressed. But these traits are what makes Julia a completely real depiction of a teenage girl. She is meant to be absolutely real: a fifteen-year-old girl who hopes and dreams but has a million blockades standing in her way, while dealing with all of the things that people have handed to her.

I found this book interesting. While I can’t say that I really loved it, it did definitely make me think, and it was very effective in that manner. Sanchez’s writing really is able to give us an immense insight into Julia’s life. As someone who has had completely different experiences than Julia, the book was able to give me a much more in-depth understanding of depression and poverty.

I would recommend this for people ages 13 and up, as it does contain mature themes and content, such as self harm, rape, abuse, and vulgar language. While it isn’t as pleasant or light-hearted of a book, I do believe that “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” is an important read.

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About the Contributor
Amelia Bai, Editor in Chief
Amelia Bai is an eighth grader at Clague Middle School, and this is her third year writing for the Cougar Star. In her free time, she reads, obsesses over all things matcha, and prides herself on being a music fanatic.

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