I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
by Erika L. Sánchez
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2017. 344 pgs. Young Adult
Julia and her parents are mourning the loss of her sister Olga, who bound the family together with her level head and responsible nature. Now Julia languishes under the domineering eye of her mother, who disapproves of her confrontational nature. Julia can't help but feel that her mother mourns the loss of her "perfect Mexican daughter" and wants Julia to start shaping up - regardless of what Julia wants for herself. But when Julia discovers some unusual items in Olga's room, she begins to suspect that Olga had her own secrets.
This coming-of-age story centers around Julia, a combative, aggressive, resentful, angry, and hurting young woman. While her personality seems off-putting, I couldn't help but relate to her throughout the book. Julia's life is also colored by her family and their traditions, foods, and values, and while she chafes against some of the more rigid aspects of her culture, other parts give her a special perspective on the world and help to define her. While I initially thought this book would be about processing grief from Olga's death and navigating their family without her, I soon realized the book is instead largely focused on Julia and her journey to find her place within her family and the larger world.