I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is the last book that I read in 2017, and as I was scrolling through my review notebook, I realized I never posted my spoiler-free review. That being said, I present to you my last review from 2017!
Summary: Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. She dreams of going away to college and becoming a professional writer, despite her family’s persistence that being a secretary in an office is a fine enough life. Olga, Julia’s older sister, is your perfect Mexican daughter, choosing to live at home after graduating high school, going to community college, cleaning and cooking for her family, etc. But when Olga dies in a tragic accident, Julia is feeling more lost than ever and questions how she’ll navigate high school, love, and life under her parents’ watchful eyes.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
I Am Not Your Perfect Daughter not only caught my attention for being a National Book Award Finalist, but for also being an own voices novel. The book heavily focuses on Julia’s Mexican upbringing, with her parents holding different expectations for their daughter, compared to American culture. Whether it’s fantasy or contemporary, I love world building. I really enjoyed learning about Julia and her family’s background and her past interactions with them. I admit that it was very frustrating to see Julia’s mother restrict her daughter’s life so much, but it showed how much Amá struggles to understand her daughter. Their disagreements, from Julia’s style to her post-graduation plans, really showed the difference between Mexican and American culture.
While there is some humor in the novel, between Amà beliefs on American culture, Julia’s POV, and her interactions with her friends, I Am Not Your Perfect Daughter is a heavy novel for its discussion on grief and depression. The on-going mystery in the novel involves Julia trying to figure out Olga’s secret relationship, but her investigation takes a bit of a backseat as Julia deals with her depression. I did not see Julia’s mental illness coming, but it made sense as we see Julia grieve over her sister’s death.
There was some sexual tension/sexualization in the novel distracted from the story, but I can understand why it was important to include in how Julia views life in her area of Chicago and Mexico. Overall, I ended my 2017 reading on a high note with I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter for its diverse discussion on culture and mental health, as well as being an all-around great contemporary read.
Have you read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter? Share in the comments!