Serena's Reviews > What Can(t) Wait

What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez
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Jul 31, 11

Read on July 31, 2011

Marisa Moreno has been determined to pass her AP Calculus class and test since the day her old-fashioned Mexican father told her that “Girls and numbers don’t mix, mija. Leave the mathematics to men” (12). Encouraged by her calculus teacher, Marisa pins her hopes on a scholarship to UT-Austin in order to major in engineering.

Mrs. Perez mentioned that she wrote this book to give her former students a novel they would want to read, a novel true to their life. The novel goes above and beyond in this respect clearly immersing the reader in Marisa’s desperate world, and the different ways her classmates and family copes with it. The author also reveals the sexist hypocrisy of la familia - the system determined to keep the family together and afloat- through the only other options available to Marisa besides the scholarships to UT-Austin. Her domineering alcoholic father lets her older brother with the chance of making the most money in the family keep many of his earnings and not work as much, making Marisa’s only other options marrying her boyfriend and staying in town, or going to the local college, working, continuing to contribute her share of the paycheck, and helping in the house.

Since the premise of the story revolves around an AP test, the ending is anti-climatic once the reader saw how Marisa would end up doing on the exam. There are some heartwarming family scenes that offset the bitterness. The ending continues in the same realist tone that the book is told in and spares the reader from anything too neat and tidy, but had the typical sugariness of an underdog tale.

Plus no one can make math sound more interesting than Mrs. Perez through the voice of Mrs. Ford.
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