***Warning, this review may contain some spoilers***
In I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez , a girl has to live with the shadow of a perfect sister. When her sister dies, Julia then has this image of a perfect daughter hovering over her as she and her family get through their loss. Within this book about a Mexican girl and the struggles she has, there are three stories; a life story, a love story, and a mystery.
The Life story: The life story that goes within this book is of the main character, Julia, who has to struggle with the loss of her sister and the pressures of her family. She is pushed by her family to be just like her sister, Olga, who was seemingly perfect in every way. Even though she is the exact opposite of her sister, loud and outspoken. She doesn't have a connection with anyone other than her friend, Lorena. She feels alone and not heard which leads Julia to face her grief alone. Then she goes through a deep depression on top of the grief that she feels for her sister and her life. I often felt connected and at times frustrated with Julia when she argued with her parents. She later understands that they come from different times and with different values. Julia also learns that even though her parents don't understand her, they still love her. Julia also grows as a person and how she treats others, her development was interesting and real, which is what I appreciated in this book.
The Love Story: The love story in this book is not just between Julia and Connor, who she meets in her favorite bookstore. But with herself as well. She learns things about herself and how she treats herself. She learns that it is OK to have certain feelings and that to know your worth is important. She goes through her guilt and pain in a destructive way, but then gets help through the feelings that she has about her life and her sister. I appreciated that in this book the relationship between Connor and Julia wasn't overshadowed by her struggles and that she has problems too.
The Mystery: The mystery comes from Julia's sister, Olga.. She was always helpful and kind to her family. Olga was a girl that her parents were proud of. When she dies she left more than sadness and memories with her sister, but a mystery about what she was really up to with her life. Julia realizes that her sister wasn't so picture perfect and she had secrets and flaws as well. Even though the readers never get to meet Olga she is still an important character in the book. Julia not only uncovers the secrets that her sister kept but also her family's secret as well. I like this element of the story because it helped Julia realize that her parents were people who had to deal with to try to have a good life for her family. By showing that literally no one is perfect, Julia realizes that she doesn't have to put so much pressure on herself.
The story overall was beautiful and telling of what most, not just teenagers, but all people go through when they are compared by other people. And when people compare themselves to others.
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