Title: I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Writer: Erika L. Sanchez
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (2017, first edition)
Bought at: Periplus.com (IDR 227k)
Julia is definitely not your perfect Mexican daughter: she’s rebellious, she has big dreams for her life, and she always fights with her mom.
Unlike her sister, Olga, who is the perfect role model for any Mexican daughter. She went to community college nearby, never abandoned her family to go somewhere far to reach her dreams, and she took care of her parents all the time.
But one day, an accident happened, Olga was dead. And it’s up to Julia to replace her sister as the perfect daughter- or keep on following her dreams even though that means she has to disappoint her family. Moreover, Julia felt there is something fishy with Olga’s life- a big secret that she hides before her death- and Julia insisted to find out about it, through Olga’s friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, Julia met with Connor, who turned her life upside down.
I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (long title!) is a realistic, engaging book about immigrant family in the US. The struggle of the undocumented parents who just want the best for their children, the difficulty of preserving the cultural legacy while also trying to adapt in America, and of course, the complicated feeling of second generation immigrant kids, who never fit in wherever they are.
At first, it’s a bit difficult to relate to Julia’s narrations. She is not easy to like, sometimes seems very selfish, rude and ignorant to other people’s feelings. Her constant ranting and whining tempted me to just close the book and give up. But luckily I persevered, and after halfway through the book, Julia became more bearable and I could root for her, especially when she’s in the middle of her investigation to find out about Olga’s secret life.
One of the most interesting parts in this book, although it’s also one of the most annoying, is the relationship of Julia and her mother. A very complicated one, especially because Julia was born in America and already identified herself as an American, while her mother still insisted to do everything the Mexican way, and the question remains: why do you come to the US if you still want everything to be like in Mexico? And how Julia and her mom navigate this issue is one of the charms of this book, and Erika Sanchez can eloquently portray it, perhaps because this is something that personally experienced by her.
The romance part is meh- but what can you expect when reading a YA book, lol, I already know that I’m too old and skeptical of this type of romantic youngsters. And the ending is just a bit to American dream-y for me, but overall this is a wonderful book to introduce us to the immigrant life from Millennial’s point of view. A very relevant issue especially in this current time.