I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was a moving, multi-layered story about identity, grief, and family.
Published on October 17, 2017 by Knopf
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 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?
Review: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
This book had a lot of different themes and threads, which I wasn’t expecting, but I appreciated the fact that it touched on such a wide range of issues.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a grief book, as Julia is mourning the sudden death of her older sister.
It’s also a book about family and all the love and frustration that family entails. Julia feels that she’s a disappointment to her parents. She thinks she’s less “perfect” a daughter than Olga was, until she tries to learn more about her sister and discovers that maybe she and Olga had more in common than she thought.
It’s a story about immigration and the struggles of first generation kids. Julia finds her parents old-fashioned and overprotective and thinks they don’t understand her. She doesn’t agree with their definition of the “perfect” girl. Then she learns more about what her parents went through to reach the U.S. As her family is undocumented, Julia also worries about putting her family at risk by applying to college.
It’s also a story that addresses mental health issues, as Julia struggles with depression in addition to all of the above. I’ve seen that some readers found Julia unlikeable. I did not. She’s snarky. She’s angry about a lot of stuff. She’s a teenager. I actually loved her narrative voice.
Hope you give this one a try, as I really enjoyed it!