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Mexican High

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The daughter of an American diplomat, Mila has spent her childhood moving from country to country. When her mother is reassigned to Mexico City for Mila’s senior year of high school, Mila has no idea what to expect. Mexico seems to be a country with the ultimate freedoms: the wealthy students at her private international school—the sons and daughters of Mexico’s ruling cla ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Spiegel & Grau (first published January 1st 2008)
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3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  338 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Aug 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: my worst enemy
Recommended to Vicki by: Lillian
Sweet 8 lb. 6 oz. baby Jesus in the manger, this was a crappy book. So poorly written that I actually put it down and hit myself in the face on two separate occasions while reading it. So poorly edited that I went on a 9-minute diatribe at book club against everyone that let it be published. This book is an abomination. Seriously. I ... I just can't do it. I can't go through all of the things about it that make me angry. I'll get nothing else done today. So, in bullet form, here is a random samp ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This has to be the worst book I've ever read in my life. As a mexican growing close to the social level that is depicted in this novel, I find it hilarious and to a point offensive how she portrays Mexican's ruling class and how she generalizes everything.
I found the plot laughable, and could not stop thinking "thank God for Bret Easton Ellis". She talks about drugs as if they were nothing, with no real consequence Characters come and go, and talk like if they were on a soap opera and that wou
Annette Davis
Apr 23, 2009 rated it liked it
As a novel about the experiences of an American in Mexico(in this case, Milagro a high school senior whose diplomat mother is posted to Mexico City) this book succeeds beautifully. The vitality and unwieldiness of the city and the hedonistic lifestyles of the wealthiest young people are also lovingly and vividly portrayed. As a coming of age story, however, the book loses credibility because Mila's mother, Maggie, is unconvincing in her unconventionality. But it surely is fun to read as Mila exp ...more
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Oh man, what a fun book. Reading this was like taking a giant trip back through my entire adolescence. The author and I went to the same high school (where the novel is set), and she gets SO MANY THINGS directly on point. The only thing that was different from my experience was that she wrote about a lot more sex & drugs than I ever knew about... so either she exaggerated for the story (not necessarily a bad thing) or I was way more oblivious/naive than I thought.

Seriously, anybody who went
Jun 13, 2008 rated it liked it
While it is set in high school, Mexican High is definately NOT a book for anyone younger than 18. It is a very moving story of what life was like for Mila, the daughter of a single mom who works for the Foreign Services department. Mila's life had been lived out of suitcases but fort the last 3 years, they have been in Washington DC and Mila thought her mom had finally settled down. But that changes at the beginning of Mila's senior year, her mom announces that she has been given another post. S ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Mexican High by Liza Monroy (Spiegel & Grau). This one just came out in paperback with a cool new cover (pictured). Milagro "Mila" Marquez, spends her senior year at the International School of Mexico, where she encounters snobby ultra-rich cliques, easy drugs and, eventually, a few truths about herself. Monroy is a raw and real writer--this book doesn’t sugar coat anything--and that’s just one reason why it rules.
Jan 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
well basically if you want a scandalous summary of my place of employment, read this. Written by an ASF grad who is a bit full of herself and writes in the voice of an ego-centric teenage girl (aren't all teenage girls ego-centric?), perhaps who she was... perhaps who she is.. I am not sure. But it's fun bc I know all the places she talks about and can relate in some ways. In other ways, though, it's a bit of a stretch.
Jennifer White
Oct 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. I felt a deep connection with the main character while being introduced to an entire new culture. This book really captures the TRUE perils and triumphs of adolescence. A MUST READ!
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
The writing was the quality of a young adult novel. I couldn't finish reading it.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What happens when your former hippie mother, turned US diplomat mother gets a new assignment right before your senior year of high school? Why, you go along, of course. And since mom has been a career diplomat, Mila is used to fitting into wherever she attends school. But the private high school in Mexico City is not like the schools she has attended before. The other students have way more freedom, they are already legal drinking age, and they have excellent drug connections. Innocent Mila gets ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled upon this book at an outlet store and boy was this book amazing! The story is based upon the author's life loosely and tells about a high school girl's life in Mexico City. It is very well writing and Monroy keeps in the story all the way to the end. I didn't want to put it down or for it to end. So good!
Jan 20, 2008 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women, travelers, mature teens
Recommended to Liza by: the muses
This review appeared in the Coral Gables Gazette:

‘Mexican High’: Immersion into the steamy city
Posted on Thu, Jun. 26, 2008

By Kris Liaugminas

New York based author Liza Monroy has written articles for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Newsweek and Time Out New York. Now, she makes her literary debut with a stunning novel about adapting to change, belonging and life as a teenager in Mexico in Mexican High (Spiegel & Grau, $22).

Mila Marquez has spent her chil
Andrew Paxman
Sep 17, 2009 rated it liked it
The twist in this upscale coming-of-age novel, which features the expected quantities of pot, blow, awkward sex, and epiphanies about conformism, is that its narrator is an American at a Mexican school. The thinly-veiled setting is Mexico City’s American School, as infested with cocaine and Prada as it’s often reputed to be, and the experiences of the feisty Mila Márquez are somewhat modelled on Monroy’s own. Events that flitter across Mila’s radar – political assassinations, Zapatista rebellion ...more
Sep 10, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It isn’t very often that I come across a book that I truly can’t stand, but this is one of those times. The ONLY reason I finished this book was so that I could spite my sister who, while we were in the store, picked it up, read the back cover, said “don’t buy this, I can tell it’s going to suck” before putting it back down.

I feel like I’ve read a first draft, not the completed, published novel I spent my hard earned money on at Borders.

NONE of the characters are fully developed, especially Mil
May 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
A friend, meaning well, gave this to me "because it was about an American girl living in Mexico City." I speak Spanish, my mom grew up abroad attending American Schools in various South American countries. It was horrid. I nor my friend realized that the audience was teenagers. The fights between the main character teen and her mom were like re-living the worst hormone crazy fights with my own mom, struggling to negotiate independence in the transition to adulthood. Boring and immature fights. T ...more
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Coming of age story of an American girl Milagra (Mila) who spends senior year of high school in Mexico City. The largest city in the world is full of drugs and crime. Mila experiments with various drugs while going to school at the ISM, filled with frescas (children of the Mexican elite), Americans, and other mexicans. Its a great portrayal of Mexican life from some one who obviously knows whats going on. She captures the corruption inherent in the city, and the highs and lows of school life. Mi ...more
Katy Vance
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was an amazing insight into the lives of students at International schools. It was occasionally a touch sensationalist, but I hesitate to say that because anyone who hasn't worked or learned in this environment might think that the drugs, murders, and nightlife described are unrealistic. They are very realistic. I would be interested to hear some reflections on this book from someone who has lived in Mexico City, to see if it is culturally relevant. My guess is, yes. Speaking from the ...more
Wild ride through an International High School in Mexico City, Mexico as seen through the eyes of recent transplant, Milagros "Mila" Marquez. I really enjoyed Monroy's vivid characters and the twists and turns of the plot in this book. Mila is a teenager with wild emotions and sometimes erratic behavior that can annoy you one moment and then endear you the next. I found her to be pretty three-dimensional.

Because the book is written from the teenager's perspective, I am not sure if it is consider
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm taking a writing class taught by author Liza Monroy, so I was very curious to read her novel, Mexican High (she's a fantastic teacher, incidentally!). She went to high school in Mexico City, and offers fun insights into the culture there, where kids have so much freedom - freedom that leads to some pretty colorful experimentation with partying. Against a setting of political assassinations and finding new friends and love while hunting for a father you've never met in an unfamiliar country, ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, adult, high, school, mexico
I heard about this book from the mother of the author; the mother used to work in the Foreign Service in Mexico City. There's no buildup or climax in the story; just when you think, aha, maybe this is it, despite the drama, the moment comes off as anti-climatic. On the other hand, the author gives us a vivid picture of of Mila's life as an American teen attending an international high school in 1990s Mexico. There are parties, clubbing, substance use and abuse, the clique of wealthy and connecte ...more
Jul 20, 2008 rated it liked it
no surprises here: an easy and pleasant distraction. it was a little exciting with all of the mexico stuff (because i adore mexico), and i liked the view of the upperclass. i also enjoyed milagro and her mother's relationship because it was very human: they were both wrong and they were both right; they were both jerks and they both loved each other very much. i guess in that way the narration was kind of off...milagro could not have been that intelligent to know that at 18. but i didn't care. i ...more
Jun 22, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a first novel and, from a literary perspective, is consistent with that. It is interesting, however, from the perspective of learning about a segment of Mexican culture and society that not everyone has an opportunity to see. I do think that some of the characters were stereotypical and that there was a tendency at the end to tie everything up. Still, it's especially interesting for anyone who has spent time in another country and it shows the challenges that teenagers face in such an en ...more
Jul 25, 2011 added it
2010- I hadn't heard of this book before randomly picking it up and now I know why. It tells the story of Mila, who moves to Mexico with her Foreign Service Officer mother, which just happens to be the place where her unknown father lives. While Mila tries to figure out the identity of her father, she spends her time getting high, drinking, and having sex. Mila isn't likable, and all her ""friends"" quickly start to blend together. Even the reveal of her father isn't that exciting. Overall, a wa ...more
Mai Ling
Jul 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
The cover of this book is so wrong, since it takes place during Mila's senior year from 1993-1994, and a pleated skirt and a flannel shirt would have been a much better fit. But I suppose that's just me judging a book by it's cover. Really, how can I not be fond of a coming-of-age book about my era -- even if I wasn't nearly as much of a crazy party girl as Mila was. Good thing I wasn't in Mexico City, I guess!
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
The only reason I gave this book 4 stars is because I grew up in Mexico City, my parents worked at the American Embassy, I went to the American School and this book was obviously written by someone who had the same experience. That said, there is way too much drug use in this book. Yes, I know that is what a lot of people did in Mexico, but I was not one. This reminded me of my youth and took me back to a place I love and will never forget!
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book much more than I did. I really liked its exploration of Mexico City, which I knew very little about, but I felt that the plot that revolved mainly around a high school senior's drinking and drug binges was disappointing. I think there are much more interesting things to say about this lifestyle.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not terribly well written, but entertaining and fast paced, and the references to the behind-the-scenes politics were interesting. A bit like a 250 page, slow motion train wreck where you know the outcome right from the start. And the train does wreck, but then, in a miraculous Hollywood ending, no one gets hurt and everyone's problems get neatly solved.
Iliana Zuniga
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This author really got Mexico City's essence in her book. I, as a native from Mexico and a former resident of Mexico City found myself transported to the "DF" as we, its residents call this massive, enourmous city and made me long for it.
May 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cristina by: Elle Magazine
I lived in Mexico so this book although Fiction has many aspects about growing up that I can totally relate to. I went to an author presentation at Books and Books, Coral Gables and it was great to meet the author.
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how to describe the feeling of this book. I felt like I actually lived in Mexico City and was doing everything that Mila was. This book is amazing and I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next!
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Liza Monroy, the daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service officer, spent her high school years attending an international school in Mexico City. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Newsweek, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, Jane, and other publications, and she was recently awarded a residency by the Kerouac Project of Orlando. She lives in N ...more
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