Seventeen-year-old Minerva Gutiérrez plans revenge on her predatory boss in this equally poignant and thrilling contemporary YA about grief, anger, and fighting for what you deserve, perfect for fans of Tiffany D. Jackson and Erika L. Sánchez.
In the seaside town of Nautilus, Minerva Gutiérrez absolutely hates her job at the local ice cream stand, where her sexist boss makes each day worse than the last. But she needs the money: kicked out of school and stranded by her mom's most recent hospitalization, she dreams of escaping her dead-end hometown. When an armed robbery at the ice cream stand stirs up rumors about money hidden on the property, Min teams up with her neighbor CeCe, also desperate for cash, to find it. The bonus? Getting revenge on her boss in the process.
If Minerva can do things right for once—without dirty cops, suspicious co-workers, and an ill-timed work crush getting in her way—she might have a way out . . . as long as the painful truths she’s been running from don’t catch up to her first.
Francesca Padilla is a Dominican-American fiction writer born and raised in New York City. She is the recipient of a Walter Dean Myers Grant from We Need Diverse Books and holds a BA in Creative Writing from the State University of New York at Purchase College. She lives with her family in Rochester, New York. You can usually find her tweeting about books, astrology, health & human services, New York State things, and occasional dumb sh*t @frannypadilla
This is an amazing debut, and I was absolutely sucked into the world of this novel from the first page. Main character Minerva's voice is so great and biting, so much so that despite the VERY heavy topics dealt with here, it's frequently funny, or at least slightly less serious and dour than it could be. That's not to say that this is just a fun romp/treasure hunt--it's not really that. The author's note at the beginning is so beautiful and helpful here, as it sets readers expectations for a book full of joy and hope, but also full of anger, grief, anticipatory grief, and trauma. This is a trauma-informed book, and it never shies away from that fact, but it's also a fun what-if/escapist novel at the same time, at least in some ways. It's such a unique, needed story, and I'm so excited that others will get to read it soon.
Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
As an adult, I’m learning to appreciate books with flawed characters at the frontline. Even when I want to grab them by the shoulders and shake the ever loving heck out of them, I can still keep reading. Minerva Gutierrez was no exception to this.
The main plotline of Minerva and her friends trying to rob Duke’s Ice Creamery just served as another representation of the main character self-sabotaging herself in the long run for something that would help her in the moment. Where in other books I often only felt frustration for a main character that constantly makes the wrong choices, I also experienced grief for Minerva. I saw a character who was hurting, who was trying to quietly self-destruct while the world rages around her. I think Padilla did really well in writing her character in a way that made me sympathize with Minerva even when making choices that I did not agree with. I got to read the gradual progression of Minerva from not thinking about her mother to remembering their relationship and that was powerful to read.
Whereas I appreciated the character development of the main character, I would have liked to see more extensive development from the side characters. It felt like they were often just on the outskirts of being included more. Especially thinking of Jonathan, Padilla laid the groundwork for their characters, their motivations, what they struggled with; but I never felt a connection the way I felt with Minerva’s character. I understood what it meant for Minerva to get out of Nautilus and the memories she was trying to escape. I didn’t really feel that with CeCe or Mary. Their interactions with her often hinted at becoming more and maybe because Minerva focused on herself more than anything, we lost a lot of their characters. At the beginning of the book, her distance from her two friends made sense, but as the heist plot progressed I expected to learn more about them only for them to be pushed to the sidelines once again.
I think that this was overall a solid four stars that I had fun with, but I would have appreciated a little bit more on some things.
Padilla’s author note really set the tone for reading this book. Learning about anticipatory grief through Minerva’s character put a completely different lens on grief. A lot of the destructive behaviors like underage drinking, drug use, fighting, etc., that she engaged in weren’t a part of my own grief process when I lost my own mother a couple years ago. However, it is understandable considering Minerva is much younger and has been dealing with the fact that her mom was dying for years.
The romance with Min’s coworker Eli from Duke’s Ice Creamery was ok but I could have done without it. I much more enjoyed the scenes with CeCe and Mary. Those relationships felt more authentic while reading.
Any BIPOC teens and adults who grew up poor and always struggling financially will relate to Minerva and her motivations for going after the treasure and wanting to get out of Nautilus. A quote that really resonated with me is, “They say money isn’t everything, but that’s for people who have never worried about how they’re going to sleep, or drive to work, or buy a f***ing piece of fruit.” Usually people don’t understand this unless it is part of their lives experience. Padilla’s depictions of poverty and deprivation were well done.
What’s Coming to Me is essentially about grief in all its various forms, growing up in poverty and being BIPOC as well as being angry about the way in which systems and structures in society are put in place to keep you down. I enjoyed this one because Padilla’s witty writing style made a book with tough topics not feel so heavy to read.
Thank you NetGalley and Soho Press for an eARC of What’s Coming To Me in exchange for an honest review.
This was an amazing debut! What’s Coming To Me is a story of revenge, grief, and a heist.
Minerva is a 17-year-old Dominican girl living in a small town. After getting kicked out of school, she works at a local ice cream shop to survive after her mother lands in the hospital. She’s desperate for money, willing to work under a sexist and predatory boss.
When she hears rumors about a stash of money being hidden on the property, Minerva bands with her neighbor CeCe and ex(?)-best friend Mary to find it. Getting revenge on her boss is just the cherry on top.
From the first page, I was sucked into the life of Minerva Gutiérrez. Padilla is able to pull her characters to life with her writing. She gives Minerva a unique voice as she deals with anger and grief. This is a very character driven story and Padilla never drifts away from that. She embraces all of Minerva’s flaws and uses them to draw in her readers.
The only thing is this book was slower than I thought. From the summary, I thought it’d be a fast-paced thrilling read about a group of teenagers looking for money. That’s not the case. The actual heist doesn’t take place until a little more than halfway through the book. I feel that the slower pace doesn't go well with the book so I was a bit let down about that. However, there are plenty of plot twists you don’t see coming.
Overall, What’s Coming To Me was an emotional story of addiction, the stages of grief, and fighting for what you deserve that touched the bottom of my heart.
Thank you to Soho Teen for providing me an ARC to review.
This is a decent book. It started strong for me but the middle seemed to plateau and I found myself putting it down quite often. At moments it seemed to drag. And I couldn't quite grasp what the the focal point was. Not terrible writing. The characters were decent. The storyline and execution were quite average.
Debut author Francesca Padilla begins What’s Coming to Me uncomfortably. As the newest employee of Duke’s Ice Creamery, 17-year-old Minerva Gutiérrez is tasked with telling her horribly sexist boss Anthony that the register is short for the third time in a week. We’ll find out later just how appalling he is, but for now the teen is procrastinating outside the ice cream shop located in the seaside town of Nautilus.
“The feel and weight of the cash inside is so specific. It’s the most money I've ever seen in my life,” Minerva narrates. “Same as the last time I had to deliver the cash to Anthony, I picture running off with the envelope, leaving Nautilus altogether, and starting over somewhere beautiful and busy. The daydream always evaporates the second I hand it over. Stays just that, a daydream.”
Moments later, a van comes hurtling around the corner. Two figures wearing black-and-white cat masks burst into the store, carrying knives. They’re here to rob Duke’s.
The adrenaline-pumping scene is just the beginning of what is a moody and suspenseful YA novel about a teen who is deeply hurting. Since her chronically ill mother’s last hospitalization, Minerva has been kicked out of school and is left stranded in the town she would very much like to escape. And even though Minerva is paid in cash at her job, she’s broke. The only semblance of family support is her mother’s cousin, Nicole – but even that relationship feels somewhat detached. When the armed robbery Minerva is a victim of (alongside her coworkers) stirs up rumors about hidden money on the property, she and her neighbor CeCe set up a plan to find it.
Padilla aptly captures readers’ attention through the characterization of her main character Minerva. The Long Island teen is resilient, flawed, and on the road to self-sabotage. She’s in a hole that she can’t seem to climb out of, and her environment is of no help. It's impossible not to be kept on edge with Minerva’s internal journey. We don’t yet understand the root of why she is the way she is. At times, I found myself wanting to shake Minerva out of some of her decisions – but then I remember she's still a child who has been dealt with some adult situations. Add the planning of a heist, and you have a compelling page-turner.
Padilla delivers a raw and chaotic portrait of adolescence through Minerva’s neighbor CeCe – who deals drugs and is also struggling at home – her ex-best friend Mary, and even her coworkers at Duke’s.
ARC kindly provided by Soho Teen through NetGalley, all opinions are my own.
What’s Coming To Me follows Minerva, working serving ice-cream in a place she hates with a sexist boss after she is kicked out of school. Following a robbery one day while she works, Minerva and her friend CeCe work to find money hidden in the ice-cream shop. This idea pulled me in and intrigued me as I started the book. Unfortunately it failed to hold my interest. What should have been a very high stakes and interesting plot simply fell short. It felt drawn out, and slow paced, which works for some plots but not one like this. One of the highlights of this book was the character of Minerva. She was resilient and clever, but also flawed in extremely relatable ways. I like that this book didn’t paint her as a perfect person, but instead created a very nuanced and realistic depiction of the teenage experience, something that is often done badly in books. The side characters were great too, and I found them all compelling and fleshed out. However the characters were not enough to make me love this book. The writing style bored me at times, turning what should be exciting and suspenseful scenes into overly drawn-out ones. Overall I think this book had a lot of potential, but it should have either leaned into the introspectiveness more heavily, or picked up the pace a little. My main takeaway is that I wish I had enjoyed this book more than I did. There were so many elements that I love, and I had rather high expectations, however it was not executed in a way that I found compelling unfortunately. This book is by no means bad, I still had a good time with parts of this book, and I think the writing style could work for some people, just not me.
TW: sexual harrassment, death of a parent, drug use, grief **Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley, which does not influence my review.**
Francesca Padilla’s YA debut, What’s Coming to Me, examines grief, poverty and retaliation through a poignant and sometimes messy lens. Minerva Gutiérrez is barely keeping afloat. Her mother’s health condition has deteriorated beyond hope, she is skipping school, and working a tedious job in order to build up her “Probable Orphan Fund.” To outsiders, Minerva appears to be an apathetic teen with no motivation, who is just going through the motions. But Minerva is not okay. She is not dealing with her anticipatory grief, but is actively avoiding it. She doesn’t want to talk about her mother because then everything will be real and in order to get up every day, even to a life that is starting to feel more and more hopeless, she has to close herself off from this reality. It is a defense mechanism that often has her retreating into herself and often lashing out at others. She is angry and desperate to get out of her small town. This desperation leads her into dangerous territory when she and a friend decide to rob her shady boss. What’s Coming to Me starts off slow and made me wonder where it was going, but once its plot found its footing, it sunk its claws into me and never let go. Padilla’s debut is quietly mesmerizing, about the lengths people will go to to survive, what justice can look like when conventional avenues aren’t available to you, and how protecting yourself from grief can sometimes leave you drowning anyways.
Wow wow wow wow wow. Whew! I absolutely loved this book and I'm so glad it exists! There's so much I appreciated about this book.
Right from the beginning, Minerva drew me in. I felt for her and was invested. Some YA novels really overplay it and are SO dramatic I want to roll my eyes, and others are a bit flat and I don't care about the characters, but this hit the sweet spot.
At about the 220 page mark, there is a massive plot twist that I did NOT see coming. I'm truly not sure how the author managed to pull it off, and how it hasn't gotten spoiled in the promo! I was shook.
I never really knew where this was going, but the pacing felt good to me and I didn't get bored. I was so worried about Min, CeCe, and Mary by the final 1/3 or 1/4 of the book, and then things resolved beautifully. I didn't want more trauma and pain for Min--I wanted change, support, and contentment--and she got it, thankfully.
This book is beautifully written and I love how it illustrates the anger and numbness that can come with grief. Min's behavior may seem inexplicable to some (rolling my eyes over here at all the reviews where people said they wanted to shake her), but I found it very relatable as a 30-something adult having a delayed teen phase and working through grief. This book is damn good. I can't want to see what Padilla writes next!
I was lucky enough to hear this author speak at the ALA conference and to get a physical ARC as well as a digital one for this amazing book. There are definitely some deep topics here (grief, armed robbery, harassment) but the voices of the characters make all of that feel so real it is hard not to get pulled into their world for better or worse. Minerva hates her job but she needs it to help support herself and her mom who suffers from chronic illness and is back in the hospital. When the store gets robbed and she learns of possible money to be found she wonders if this might answer all her problems. It reminded me a bit (a stretch I know) of On My Block when they were looking for the RollerWorld money. A great read with a great voice that I am excited to bring into my classroom.
Minerva is growing up in the seaside town of Nautilus, alone.. kinda. Freshly kicked out of school, again. Her mom in the hospital, again. And the robbery of her ice cream shop job, brings up questions, and a new found hunt. With the help of her friend CeCe, Minerva is out to stick it to her sexist boss.
First let me say, the character development is 🤌🏼 chefs kiss! I found the book to be VERY character driven, which isn’t a bad thing, but the plot lacked in a bit of ✨ spark ✨. It took a bit for the plot to really take off. The robbery happened fast, but then the in between of things happening was.. l o n g. But, it read fast and the chapters were quick! Which is a plus.
This book has some characters I fell in love with, and some amazing themes weaved into a 'will they succeed with this crazy weird unwise unlikely plan????'-plot. There were times I wanted to give the protagonist and her friends a good shake - just like I imagine Nicole wanted to do quite often. I think the mom's cousin was my favourite character of all, no matter how annoying Min thought she was. I must admit that a chunk of the plot felt slow at times, but those great characters and wanting to know what would come to them in the end kept me going. Let's say I was not disappointed.
I want to thank Netgalley and Soho Press for the chance to read this book.
What's Coming to Me by Francesca Padilla is a YA coming of age story. Seeped in the desperation of poverty and bad choices, the author weaves a tale of redemption even in the world of equally bad choices. There are no heroes here. Only people acting out of the animal instinct of survival. This is a very realistic read and touches on some topics that could warrant further discussion like generational poverty, drug use, sexual exploitation by adults, theft, and alcohol usage.
Duke's Ice Creamery gets robbed, with Minerva Gutiérrez holding the bag--of cash, which she hands over, despite wishing she'd stolen it herself. Min is having a rough time of it. Her mother is out of the picture, Min was expelled from school, she ghosted her best friend Mary, and she's struggling financially. Her other best friend, CeCe, is a drug dealer who hooks Min up now and again with cash and weed in exchange for rides in Min's mother's car (which she's not supposed to drive). Her life is pretty shitty, which makes for a hard read for much of the book, and I didn't always want to stick with it.
Things look up with Minerva reconnects with Mary--and Mary connects with CeCe. The three of them hatch a get rich quick scheme--discovering the "treasure" that is supposedly hidden at Duke's. As with all get-rich-quick schemes, there are hiccups, including with Min's love interest, Duke's assistant manager, Eli. Read if you're patient and have a high tolerance for self-sabotage (that's caused by racism, poverty, and grief).
*3.5. I was really excited for this YA debut, especially after reading the authors note at the beginning. While I think the ideas and intent and concepts are outstanding, the reading experience suffers from what I can best describe as a “mushy” presentation of events. It was hard to really get a handle on what was going on and what was important about what was going on, and sometimes the dialogue was hard to follow. I did like the characters and their dynamics overall, but I wished their development and the story’s development had been more spread out - the first half is lots of repetitive happenings and speculation and the second half is all the action. I’m excited to see what this authors writes next.
* thanks to NetGalley and Soho Teen for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
The writing style of What's Coming to Me is very good, but the plot didn't worked well for me. I thought I would like it a lot more, however, despite understanding where Minerva's attitudes came from, the description of so much self-sabotage was not a good experience. I get that some things that happens in real life are very necessary in the narrative, but I didn't liked the excess of it in this story, and that's ok, I say this based on my personal experience! Anyway, I recommend this book for people who enjoy doses of reality and personal growth, which are definitely things that appear a lot in this story.
I did not vibe with the writing style of the story and as I continued reading I realized that it was trying to create a story where there really wasn't one. I wasn't invested in the main character or her situation and reading the end note I wished it had more of the anticipatory grief that she had mentioned. Instead, everything she did seemed like an overreaction without any consequences or realistic expectations.
Thanks to NetGalley and Soho Teen for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
This book was a very enjoyable read!
It follows Minerva as she navigates grief and anger, while planning revenge on her sexist boss. When the ice-creamery where she works gets robbed, Minerva hears rumors about money hidden there. She teames up with her neighbor who is also desperate for cash, and together they plan to find the said money.
I liked the writing style, and the book was fast paced and had me hooked from the very beginning. It is short, and is easy to read in one sitting. The plot was interesting, but not exactly what I expected it to be. Because of that, I found the book dragging in the middle, but it picked up closer to the end.
The characters were not my favorite, but I don’t think that Minerva has been written to be very likable, at least not in the beginning. And it’s alright because we understand why she makes the decisions that she does, even when they are the wrong ones. What I want to point out is character development, because she really grows as a person throughout the book. I didn’t care much for the romance, but there wasn’t much of it, and it certainly isn’t the priority here.
This book explores important topics (and makes a good job of it), and is not a light read. Therefore, check the trigger warnings first. (TW: drug use, grief, armed robbery, chronically ill parent, racism)
I received this a physical arc copy. My thought and review are 100% honest and my own.
This story follows Minerva, Min for short. Min is a highschool who has come down on some hard times within her life. Her mother is sick with cancer And a fight has her in summer school. With everything going on within her life and stress, school goes by the wayside and she is working at an ice cream stand. The only downfall is her coworkers and her boss are not the greatest. There is also a mystery about a hidden "treasure". The story is full of suspense. Friend issues, drugs, payment under the table, dirty cops, curious teenagers, and budding romance.
I really enjoyed this book. It was slow at first, but it does become very addictive and page turning. I also liked the bipoc and sapphic representation within the book. The author did have the main character have to deal with some racial issues within the book and overcome them. At first you just think that Minerva is a teenager with an attitude and then you find out that she's just a teenager that is in mourning and does not know what to do with her emotions. This book definitely had me on an emotional trip throughout the pages. As well as an amazing trip through finding out what the mystery treasure was as well as what was going to happen with the massive twists at the end.
100% recommend this book. I enjoyed it greatly. It was definitely well written and the author knows how to keep you turning those pages.
Seventeen-year-old Minervia is going through tough times. Her mother’s hospitalization for congenital heart failure has left Min alone and lonely. Min’s grades sunk and she got expelled from school for fighting. Her only bright spot is that she landed a coveted job at a beloved neighborhood ice cream stand. Except she hates working there because of her creepy boss. When the ice cream stand is robbed at closing one night, old rumors about lots of cash hidden in the stand resurface. Min is desperate for change- to flee poverty, to flee her crummy apartment, to flee her memories. Min and her neighbor CeCe, also desperate for cash to get away, become obsessed with finding the treasure hidden in the ice cream stand. They decide to risk everything for the chance at new lives.
What’s Coming to Me is a notable debut novel featuring a Dominican girl. I really liked Minervia’s voice. Her sorrows and struggles were heartbreaking. Minerva’s grief and desperation lead her to make some bad choices, but she’s a kid in a world of hurt. She’s smart, determined, and resilient. I couldn’t help but root for Min as she learns to accept help, reconnects with her best friend, and finds love.
This book will appeal to fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Tiffany D. Jackson and readers who enjoy realistic fiction and family drama.
Thank you to NetGalley and Soho Press Teen for the digital review copy.