This YA Novel follows the narrative of teenage, Mexican-American Julia, who dreams of being a famous writer, but feels smothered by her poor town in Chicago, and her traditional parents. After the death of perfect, rule-abiding older sister Olga, Julia and her family are devastated. Not only that, but Julia always seems to find a way to prove she’s everything Olga wasn’t; she can’t seem to ever get along or live up to the expectations of her mother, she would rather read or write than attend overwhelming family gathering, and she plans on going to college elsewhere and fantasizes about seeing the world. But after finding a couple of strange things in Olga’s past belongings, she’s starts to realize there was more to her sister than the world knew, and she’s determined to prove it.
This book was a funny, complex, and empowering story. I loved Julia’s narrative, and kept thinking about her, and many of the other characters long after I finished reading the book. At first, the book was a little difficult and didn’t exactly hook my interest, but as I kept reading, I was glad I did, because Julia’s world turned out to be a colorful and unique one. The way the author talked about Julia’s struggle trying to live up to family expectations, being a person of color, and battle with mental health is very well written, and gives much perspective, as well as being relatable to many. Julia’s love for poetry and literature is contagious through this book. This story takes the reader through so many emotions, struggles, and triumphs right along side the characters. Its powerful impact on the reader, portrayal of teen love, as well as representation of diversity makes it a must-read for all teens.