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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  14,441 ratings  ·  2,632 reviews
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shatter
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Diana No, not at all. I think this story does a beautiful job trying to explain the reason WHY her parents overprotect her. Abuse? No. Trying to love…moreNo, not at all. I think this story does a beautiful job trying to explain the reason WHY her parents overprotect her. Abuse? No. Trying to love someone so much it pushes them away? Yes.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,441 ratings  ·  2,632 reviews

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Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Obnoxious” and “constantly confrontational” would be the best words to describe Julia, the main character and narrator of this novel. I don’t think I really warmed up to her, even after getting to know her better and learning some of the reasons for her attitude . She is not an easy person to like, that’s it. I’ve known people like this in real world. But it’s not really a criticism of the novel. Julia’s personality clashes with her mother’s are a major part of the story. This is a story about ...more
I learned so much about Mexican culture from this book. It doesn’t just mention that Julia is Mexican like some books tend to do—it explains what makes her and her family Mexican. It’s very insightful and honest.

As an immigrant myself (Romania → Canada), I had no problem finding similarities between her family and mine. Her parents immigrated to another country to have a better future, as did my mother. They want Julia to be well-behaved and close to perfect because they know how hard the world
Yusra  ✨
Olga is dead. Olga, the perfect daughter, one who was both innocent and wore clothes that made her look ugly. She died in a bus accident. She was perfect. She was the perfect daughter .

Now, there is only Julia. Who blames herself for her sisters death, because her mother could have been picking up Olga that day; except she was at Julia’s school, speaking to the principal about another one of Julia’s suspensions.

Truth be told, I didn’t expect to like this because I’m not Mexican and these t
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everyone needs to read this book. I've never felt so connected to a character in my entire life.
El Librero de Valentina
Reseña pronto en el canal!
Saajid Hosein
I went into this book with the littlest of expectations, not expecting to be as blown away as I was. This is a gripping, raw story about the haunting nature of grief and absence, about the importance of communicating and being open and about how the loss of a love one force you to find yourself. I am shooketh. I am wigless. My crops have been burnt and I have no sustenance. My heart is as broken as the spines of well worn paper backs. Please read this book, what an excellent way to start off 201 ...more
David Schaafsma
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wasn’t sure what to expect in reading this south side Chicago story, a first YA novel that has been very well-reviewed, and half way into it, was not liking the first person narrator Julia, who is sarcastic, arrogant, volatile, and sometimes downright nasty, which is to say she is one kind of teenager. She doesn’t play well with others. She doesn’t even like most people. She is Mexican American (or, Hispanic, Latinx) but doesn’t like Mexican music, she listens to edgy/mainstream music. She wan ...more
Book Riot Community
When Olga is hit and killed by a semi, Julia mourns the loss of not just her sister, but what it might mean for what her life will look like down the road. Olga was quiet, stayed at home, and played the role of “good Mexican daughter.” Julia wants out — she wants more to her life than her Chicago neighborhood or living at home forever like her sister did. She’s a poet and an art lover and wants to make a life out of writing.

Through the process of learning to live without Olga, Julia slowly begin
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
2.5 rounded down

I have to admit, it took quite a while for me to get into this one. This isn't a particularly long read, but is quite slow paced, and more YA than I was expecting (I'll explain that later!).

The story follows Julia's life in the aftermath of her older sister's sudden death at 22 (not a spoiler, it happens on the first page on the book). Julia is a 15 year old Mexican girl, living in Chicago with her incredibly controlling parents. It is apparent from an early stage that Julia has
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This book is a stunning exploration of what it means to want so much while feeling like you have so little. Sanchez does an excellent job of exploring cultural expectations, socioeconomic issues, and anxiety and depression as a late teen. With so much going on, one would expect the book not to tackle all the issues very well. That is not true of this one -- it is a perfect exploration of how we are all dealing with many things at once, and certainly a great example of intersectional feminism in ...more
Liv (Stories For Coffee)
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a hilarious and striking contemporary novel following a young Mexican-American girl after her sister has passed away. She has to face the fact that her mother doesn’t think she’s good enough and her father who ignores her. This novel follows the life of a teen living in Chicago as she deals with depression, anxiety, loss, change, and college applications. Told in a witty and raw way, this story kept my attention from the moment it began and left me wanti ...more
Melissa Stacy
The 2017 YA contemporary novel, "I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter," was a book I wanted to love. I searched bookstore shelves for this title right after the novel's release date, and when I couldn't find it in stock, I put my name on the wait list at the library, and started reading Chapter One as soon as I picked it up.

The main character, however, is equal parts clueless, arrogant, cruel, and balances her character flaws with delusions of grandeur. I could not connect with this Mexican-Am
The Dyselxic Bookworm

***3.75 Stars***

This book has to be one of the few books out there that represents what it is like to be a Mexican-American. I haven't read another book that has come close to representing what it is like to a Mexican-American.

The story is about Julia, a girl who wants to go to college, despite having many hurdles that are keeping her from this. The one major issue that I had with this book was how the little summary on the inside co
Dani Amaya
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Look, I am not a perfect Mexican daughter, but neither was my mother nor her mother before her.
That means that while I've always been aware of the ideal girl many mexicans would like me to be, I've never felt that pressure directly myself. Not like Julia.
This book was really incredible in that way. It was a whole portrayal of Mexican culture, the good and bad. There was a beautiful mix of English and Spanish that felt right for the story. The characters were well written and well developed. I
Dec 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm mixed on this one. There are elements of Julia's story I can relate to: her overbearing parents, feeling ostracized among your own extended family, the idea that you are not the "norm" for your race. But there are undertones of us vs. them and I feel it isn't developed fully to have it be part of the story.

For example, Julia meets a boy at a bookstore. He is wealthy and white and different from her in each and every way. And yet, they attempt to date and be together. The problem with this tr
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pretty impressed with this book. I went into it blind (like I do with everything) and I wasn't 100% sure I was going to love it. I couldn't put it down. It reminded me of Mexico and the culture there. I am not Hispanic but my husband was born and raised in Baja Mexico and I met him there. This whole book reminded me of his huge family and their traditions. I loved the references to the women making food all the time and how you go over you eat. There was so much in this book that made me l ...more
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an eARC I got from the publisher via NetGalley as a staff reviewer for YA Books Central.

Representation: almost everyone is Latinx, specifically Mexican/Mexican-American; A gay character named Juanga is a minor character; Julia attempts suicide, but it is only vaguely described and her recovery from depression is very therapy/medication-positive; Julia is overweight and her family is pretty darn poor

Warning: book has a suicide attempt in it, bu
Jen Ryland
This book wove in a lot of different themes and issues and I really enjoyed them all.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a grief book, as Julia is mourning the sudden death of her older sister.

It’s also a book about family and all the love and frustration that family can entail. Julia feels that she’s a disappointment to her parents. She thinks she’s less “perfect” a daughter than Olga was, until she tries to learn more about her sister and discovers that maybe she and Olga had more in co
Kate Olson
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
More than deserving of its National Book Award Finalist status, this novel is a stunning story of heritage, family and growing up.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

Sanchez has taken a teenage girl and created one of the most relatable characters I have read yet in young adult literature. Julia and her family and the Chicago setting are absolute perfection, and readers will get swept up into both Julia's grief over the loss of her sister, but also her agony about being trapped into
Smitha Murthy
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally! That rare YA novel that has some substance! Having started to read a fair bit in this genre, I confess that I am more disappointed by the books here than thrilled by them. I came across this book in a list online that promises better, more inclusive, diverse fiction. Whatever that means. But Erika Sanchez has created in Julia a little bit of a miracle - not the usual, self-absorbed, narcissistic kind of YA heroine - but someone who really seems to be exploring the angst of that age. Jul ...more
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This story was heartbreaking from the first sentence....

Set in Chicago 2013, the story opens with the death of Julia's sister, Olga. In Julia's eyes she will never measure up to her "perfect" sister, Olga. Julia's parents, Ama and Apa, allow their grief and fear to consume them to the point that they are not able to see that their daughter is spiraling as well.

Ama's fear that her daughter is becoming "too American" leads her to go through her things, tear up her diary, and take away her freedom.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
~3 Stars~
I went into this book, skeptical. And honestly, I was right to be so.
After reading it, I didn't feel any sense of closure. They storyline was also alot darker than I expected. I mean, I was hoping for more than the occasional humor.
Half the time I was bored and the other half I was indifferent. I never built any strong ties to the characters or book in general.
As for the portrayal of culture in this book, I thought this was a missed opportunity.
As a Mexican American, I take note tha
✦ Maica ✦
May 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
But this isn't about you. This is about protecting those who are still here. Why would you want to cause your family more pain?

Actual Rating: 1.5 stars
possible trigger warnings for depression, attempted suicide, and sexual assault

I honestly wanted to love this book but the characters were so unbearable. I wanted to DNF this so many times but I just kept going to see if the characters will get better. The only thing that kept me going was the Mexican culture. I enjoyed seeing how similar thei
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book may resonate for many readers as it did for me with the portrayal of the Mexican culture, family and a young girl trying to find her way. She's in a cultural conflict with her traditional Mexican family and stands up for herself and her dreams in spite of making her parents unhappy. The characters are well written and developed but not necessarily likeable or sympathetic. One eventually understands where Julia and her parents are coming from. The book follows several directions at time ...more
Mar 04, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: young-adult
El título es completamente atrayente. En cuanto vi la portada corrí (figurativamente) a Amazon a comprarlo solo para darme cuenta que aún no lo publican.
Pero sin duda tengo muchísimas ganas de leerlo.
Yo nunca he sido una Mexicana Perfecta tampoco y muero por ver como desarrollara la historia la autora.

Espero que no caiga en los clichés del genero YA, y tampoco en los estereotipos de nuestra cultura.

Erika L. Sánchez confío en ti, no la vayas a regar.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
I was quite taken with this book. Is it weird to say it gave me Lady Bird vibes?
Rebecca Woodward
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
This is one of those reads where you liked the storyline and The characters but it’s missing something. I was intrigued by the synopsis of the story more then the actual read.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It portrays the life of a Mexican daughter, the norms that are set by the Mexican culture. Girls are supposed to stay at home, not leave their house until their married which implies not going out of state to college. No going out, being lady like and dressing properly nothing too vulgar. Most Mexican parents still carry these “values” and put them into play with their daughter. In this book Julia challenges these norms and let’s herself grow with the support of her parents, thanks to the love t ...more
Dramatically Bookish (ReviewsMayVary)
This is the story of Julia, a girl who's sister's death leads her to discover that there are all kinds of secrets her family is keeping. She is also completely overwhelmed with her hopelessness. There are a many great things about family and mental health, here. There are also some important examples of harassment and douchy peer interactions.

I think would be a great book to read for a teen book club/ discussion group.

Julia is annoying, in general, though I suspect that I wouldn't have thought
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
My first comment is that the title of this book is terrible, and my reasons for saying that will lead into my reaction to this book.

This book is about so much more than Julia, the protagonist, not being the perfect Mexican daughter. Granted, her reactions against the expectations of her as a Mexican girl are central to the novel, but that's not what the book is about. I'm reading this book to teach it in my colleague's Children's Literature course that I will be covering when Stepha
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“I don’t know why I’ve always been like this, why the smallest things make me ache inside. There’s a poem I read once, titled “The World Is Too Much with Us,” and I guess that is the best way to describe the feeling—the world is too much with me.” 26 likes
“It’s easier to be pissed, though. If I stop being angry, I’m afraid I’ll fall apart until I’m just a warm mound of flesh on the floor.” 14 likes
More quotes…