Vanessa's Reviews > What Can(t) Wait

What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez
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Aug 07, 11

bookshelves: realistic-fiction, teen-fiction
Read in July, 2011

I really liked What Can(‘t) Wait. It’s a realistic, romantic, “problem” novel. Marisa is really smart, especially in math, and she has the potential to break out of the cycle of poverty dragging her familia down. Her Mexican-American family needs her income and babysitting time, though. Unable to comprehend that her future could be brighter, her parents actually discourage Marisa from excelling at school. When a teacher needles Marisa to apply to the engineering program in faraway Austin, she has to decide whether pursuing other dreams means turning her back on family and boyfriend--and whether leaving them behind might be worth it.

Marisa's dilemma doesn't have a simple solution. She truly loves her family most of the time, especially the engaging niece she has to babysit while big sister deals with her loser husband. She also loves her understanding and equally gifted boyfriend, an artist. That's why I loved Marisa and agonized with her.

A few scenes seemed unrealistic to me, particularly ones with Marisa's brother-in-law's threatening friend, but those problems were minor--this is a jewel of a book.
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