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They Could Have Named Her Anything
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They Could Have Named Her Anything

3.05  ·  Rating details ·  2,312 ratings  ·  246 reviews

Racism, class, and betrayal collide in this poignant debut novel about restoring the broken bonds of family and friendship.

Every morning, seventeen-year-old Maria Anís Rosario takes the subway an hour from her boisterous and close-knit family in Queens to her private high school on the Upper East Side, where she struggles to fit in as one of the only Latina students—un

Kindle Edition, 293 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by Little A (first published July 1st 2019)
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Stephanie Jimenez This is an adult novel that focuses on a seventeen year old protagonist, her best friend, and the lives of their families. Though the book is not labe…moreThis is an adult novel that focuses on a seventeen year old protagonist, her best friend, and the lives of their families. Though the book is not labeled Young Adult, School Library Journal “highly recommends” the book for mature audiences, and I agree that high school students will enjoy reading!(less)

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Rating details
 ·  2,312 ratings  ·  246 reviews

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Mary J Starry
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book upset me because by the end I felt like I had wasted my time reading it when I could have read something different. I just couldn't develop any real empathy for Maria, the main character, who at times seemed to have her life in focus, other times seemed depressed (which was never treated or addressed) while other times just seemed to run on pure self-centeredness. The relationship with Charlie just seemed tarnished and ugly and more like child abuse than anything else. Cannot think of ...more
This story takes place in New York and its about this girl named Maria who lives in Queens and travels to the upper east side to a private high school. This book deals with families, race, relationships, sex, and betrayal.

Trying to put into words of how I felt about this story...I didn't like it. I was highly disappointed. I felt like it jumped all over the place. I didnt like any of the characters. They were all messed up in there own little way. I'm glad this book wasn't that long otherwise
Mircale Williams
Jul 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This month 7/2019 only Prime Members get to choose 2!!! books for the Prime First Reads programs.! I'm so thankful because I couldn't choose between They Could Have Named Her Anything and What You Did!!! ...more
Edward Lorn
DNF @ page 45. Can't get into it and it honestly feels like a THE HATE U GIVE clone.
Kristine Soly
Jul 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
OMG!!! What a disaster! I thought the book would never end. And I never did figure out what the characters were supposed to have learned from their experiences. Way too much detail that was not necessary, not to mention that there was not one likable character in the whole book. And talk about lack of character after another. I could find no redeeming qualities in any of the characters or in their behavior...and I'm no prude...but, seriously...all this book conveys is that everyon ...more
Jennifer Alvarez
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I went into this book with no expectations and it was like stepping through a portal. The characters are messy and confused and full of angst. They are a mix of good and bad, like real people.

This book grapples with the human condition in a modern urban setting. Maria is surrounded by concrete and expectations and cultural differences between Queens and her private high school in Manhattan. Few seventeen year-olds would navigate this gracefully, I think, and it all felt real to me--the selfish
Courtney LeBlanc
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book states it's an adult novel with a seventeen year old protagonist but to me it read like YA fiction. I got through about 75% before giving up because the characters, their actions, etc didn't appeal to me... I think it's probably a great read for YA, but not for a 40-year old woman.
Erin Glover
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
What’s in a name? Only everything—an entire culture, a lineage that goes back hundreds of years, a sense of belonging in the modern world.

María Anís Rosario is 17-years-old and attending the elite Bell Seminary in Manhattan on a full scholarship. She lives in Queens with her parents and older brother in a loving, tightly-knit family. Her mother is from Ecuador and her father from Puerto Rico.

Maria is startled when fellow student Rocky Albrecht invites her to her fancy Upper East Side apartment
Jul 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Whew chillay, no.

The premise was incredibly tacky and gross.

This book lacked strong, well developed, interesting characters, there was no character development, the plot was barely there and slow moving.

The writing itself left A LOT to be desired (weird turns of phrases, synonyms that weren’t really synonyms). The ending was arguably the worst part.

Save it. Save your time and money.
Ida Wilcox
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
OK what??

The story was ok. It moved along with a good pace but the ending was crazy.

It just ended.

Sometimes the writting was boring where I wasnt even paying attention to what I was reading but some parts pulled me in.

Just wish the ending was in deed a ending.
Natalia Sylvester
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is out today, but I received an early copy of this novel & shared these words about it: In They Could Have Named Her Anything, Stephanie Jimenez has constructed a beautiful, unflinching narrative about the time in one's life when we go from being defined by what others think of us to unapologetically embracing our complicated and fluid selves. ...more
Read this for the "author's debut" prompt for the 2019 Reading Rush.

What the fuck is this book even trying to say? What is the point? What is the story?

If I could bring myself to DNF books, I would've done so with this as soon as it became clear there was going to be a "relationship" between a 17 year old girl and a grown man.

There's a lot of casual, normalized, swept-under-the-rug, and even romanticized abuse, racism, ableism, misogyny, slut shaming, victim blaming, rape, and predatory men.

Maria and Rocky form an unlikely friendship. Maria is a scholarship student at a private school, where Rocky is one of the more privileged students. Both Maria and Rocky have struggles in their lives.

Told mostly from Maria's point of view, but also includes POVs from Rocky, Miguel, and Charlie. Maria's family is struggling financially, she is in an unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend, and she suffers from depression. Rocky's parents are going through a divorce, and she feels lonely and neg
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Maria goes to a private school and yearns to go to college but her parents insist she get a job as they are barely making ends meet. Maria meets Rocky, a spoiled white girl and they pursue an odd friendship based on jealousy and other things they can't quite explain. Things get complicated as Rocky's parents get involved and Maria's on-again-off-again boyfriend takes advantage of her and then dumps her (but she still hangs around). I just couldn ...more
Nicole Patterson
Dec 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was so unbelievably boring. I had a hard time getting through it. I could not connect with any of the characters. I found Maria annoying and self centered. Rocky was a rich spoiled bitch. Andres was a dick. Charlie was a pedophile. They never even mentioned if Maria went to college or which one. This is the first and probably last book I read by this author. The style of writing was just horrible.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I tried really hard to like this book. It has diversity and realistic situations not often portrayed. The problem is I didn't like any of the main characters. It just fell flat for me.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Heather Frimmer
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When Maria Rosario begins commuting to a private high school on the upper east side of Manhattan, she is befriended by Rocky, a girl who doesn’t think twice about paying for Maria’s meals and even buys her a plane ticket. Maria is enamored with her new, wealthy friend, but she’s also worried Rocky will look down on because she lives in Queens. She doesn’t want to have to explain to Rocky why the hot water in the bathroom always turns cold or why they don’t have cable TV. Meanwhile, Rocky is equa ...more
Teri Sobeck
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Honestly, I only finished this book because I'm trying to hit my reading goal and didn't want to abandon a book this late in the year and have to start over with a new one. It was not good, like, at all. There's so many different storylines going on at once, but none of them ever really comes to a clear, good ending. It's hard to root for any of the characters because they all go from being interesting, developed characters to total stereotypes or completely surface-level. Personally, I have a h ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I did not like this book. I thought it jumped around too much, told from too many points of views, and that Maria was a wimp. Her constant mood swings were irritating, and there were so many fantastical elements that the whole thing felt like one of those Latino soap operas I used to watch with my mom when I was growing up. Read the rest of the review on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.... ...more
Beth K. Harkaway
Jul 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
The story line never developed. It was all over the place all the way through. I kept thinking something was going to happen to draw me in but it never did. I tried to give it a chance, that is why I read it all the way through. Not a fan.
Liza Rodimtseva
This young adult oriented coming of age story explores the angst of forming an identity, as Maria, a scholarship student at a ritzy private school, toggles awkwardly between the world of her hardworking immigrant parents and the world of her privileged and oblivious classmates. The unique challenges of code-switching add to the already fraught minefield of high school friendships. Although Jimenez doesn't deviate much from the formula of such stories - jealousy, resentment, forbidden desire and ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
An overdramatized attempt at slice of life with no discernible plot

Creepy older men, indecisive protagonists, and constant contradictions but, like, not in an artsy way. No thank you. Unsubscribe. 1/10
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
We never really understand each other

Do we? Like it is always said, we are each the star of our own movie, we are all the protagonist in our dreams. The people we spend the most time with often don't know us at all. That realization, that dynamic, is at the heart of this novel. Not just the idea that the grass is always greener but the idea that our deserts are someone else's garden.
As a former scholarship kid, I understood a lot of the things that Maria went through. The entire story was beaut
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I didn't care for this book. 3 stars because there was some original and interesting writing. But I felt the characters were very stereotyped, especially Rocky. The main character Maria didn't really feel coherent. She seemed to have totally different values and opinions and behaviors at different times throughout the book. Also I just really disliked a major aspect of the plot - (view spoiler) and w ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this book a little hard to follow at times. The writing style was confusing and the names were also confusing... did she have to choose Rocky and Ricky? The story was less than uplifting and was not what I was expecting. Glad to be finished with it.
Leah Hortin
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, 2020-popsugar
This was a trainwreck.
Bookteafull (Danny)
Tremendo. Mierda.

This book literally read as the shittiest latinx slice of life ever.

First and foremost, there is Z E R O plot. Nothing is really happening for the entirety of the book other than shitty one-dimensional characters being shitty. I'm just calling it how it is. The author's overall goal with the narrative only becomes clear and apparent during the last two to three chapters.

But, I mean, what else do you expect when numerous mini topics and points of interest are introduced in 28
Linda Doyle
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I wish I liked this book more because it's a coming-of-age story with interesting themes of racism, cultural assimilation, family relations, and sexual awakening. But I found the plotline so ugly at times that I had to set the book aside and take a break. The plot also meanders and, unfortunately, so did my attention.

Maria is a bright high school student, but she makes so many unwise decisions in her personal life that I questioned her intelligence. Well, she is smart, but she is a teenager who
Erin Cataldi
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Debut author, Stephanie Jimenez, doesn't pull any punches in this arresting coming of age novel. Wealth, racism, and privilege duke it out in this powerful young adult story between two unlikely friends. Maria comes from a close knit family in Queens down on their luck financially and Rocky comes from the Upper East Side where she uses her money as a shield from family drama. Together they attend an elite girls school and find themselves drawn to each other. Their budding friendship is riddled w ...more
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