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SLA's Friday Favourites (04/03)

04 March 2022 Share

Reading recommendations we think you'll love.

Title: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Author: Erika L. Sánchez

Publisher: One World

Age: 13-16

Publication date: 3rd March 2022

ISBN: 9780861543496

Reviewer: Dawn Woods



*TRIGGER WARNING: Attempted suicide*


WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Julia's elder sister Olga has died, knocked over by a truck when she descended from the bus. She only had to get the bus as their Mum had to collect Julia from school where she'd got into trouble, yet again. So Julia thinks it's all her fault. Their parents miss their daughter, with Julia's Mum taking to her bed and neglecting everything else. Julia too misses her sister, but that's overlooked.

Both Julia's parents illegally crossed the American/Mexican border and have never secured papers to make their status legal, but now wanted their children to work hard at school and get nice steady jobs close to home. That's what Olga did. She didn't go out with friends but constantly helped around the house. Julia however, is not like that. Julia is smart but wants high grades to get into a good college in New York, far away from home. Neither does she want a 'nice steady' job, but would like to become a writer. Even her friends are disapproved of by her Mum.

But when Julia goes into her sister's room - against her Mum's instructions - she discovers something to make her think that Olga was not what she made out to be, so she needs to know more.


HOW DID READING IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

As a parent you want to protect your children, especially when you have lost one, but suffocating them with your own ideas of how they should behave and what they should do is not allowing their individuality. Julia's grief was not acknowledged by her Mother for a long time, prolonging Julia's grieving and hurt.


WHAT LASTING IMPRESSION DID IT HAVE?

This is a book with heartfelt emotions of loss, yet there is also humour. Julia is a typical teenager wanting freedom and space to be herself. That is not her Mum's culture and she cannot understand it, so tensions arise.

When Julia is pushed to the extreme the restrictions are tightened, but it does allow her to voice and try to understand the motivations of others.


WHY SHOULD OTHERS READ IT?

Everyone is affected by death in different ways. Some need to talk openly, others hide their feelings, but suppressing your feelings to protect others is not healthy. Not being able to hold conversations with close family does not help anyone as misunderstandings arise, so honesty is always best.


HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE USING THIS BOOK?

This is a good book for a book club to discuss. It can also be used for those suffering similar losses to encourage them to confide in someone they trust.


MEET THE AUTHOR

Erika L. Sánchez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. A poet, novelist, and essayist, her debut poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion, was published by Graywolf in July 2017, and was a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award. Her debut young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, is a New York Times Bestseller and a National Book Awards finalist. Her memoir Crying in the Bathroom is forthcoming from Viking in 2022.

Visit her website and follow her on Twitter.

Available here



Title: You’re Not the Boss of Me!

Author: Catherine Wilkins

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Age: 8-12, 13-16

Publication date: 3rd March 2022

ISBN: 9781788007863

Reviewer: Dawn Woods




WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Amy is a very positive person and loves writing comedy sketches, formerly with her best friend Anvil, but now since growing up has made Anvil think he had to impress the boys in the cool gang, Amy writes alone. When the Y9 School Revue is opened up for students to write, direct and perform, Amy is the first to sign up herself and her best friends.

However, she comes up against a prejudice she’d never previously encountered. Determined to prove her point, she devises a plan with Anvil which only partly works and is a further shock to Amy.

This novel is about YA aged students, but could equally be aimed at MG level. There is absolutely nothing unsuitable for younger children apart from the harsh realities of blatant sexism.


HOW DID READING IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

Angry!


WHAT LASTING IMPRESSION DID IT HAVE?

Most of what happens in this book, if it occurred in isolation, would be brushed over – and is – but mounting up it demonstrates the reality for many females. This is gaslighting at its most blatant as the boys get away with excluding Amy with their grovelling to the (ineffective) teacher.


WHY SHOULD OTHERS READ IT?

This is not a call to arms for primary aged girls, but if it helps girls of all ages stick up for themselves to ensure their voice is heard, this has done its work.


HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE USING THIS BOOK?

A great discussion book, preferably with both sexes. A bookclub could get some mileage from this.


MEET THE AUTHOR

Catherine Wilkins is a writer and comedian. She grew up in Hertfordshire and now lives in London. She writes jokes and stories which she performs around the country to strangers in the dark, trying to make them laugh. Catherine has always wanted to write funny stories for children and is finding the whole process more exciting than that time she bungee jumped. 

Visit her website and follow her on Twitter.


Available here