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I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter- A Gem Among YA Fiction

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kutztown chapter.

Last summer, I stumbled across this book as I browsed my local library’s catalog. I had seen mixed reviews about this book; however, the synopsis hit close to home. As a member of the Latinx community, I resonated with the overall topic of this book. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter tells the story of Julia, a Mexican-American teen who has to deal with reconnecting with her dead older sister through secrets her sister left behind while keeping up the “perfect daughter” image her sister had. This book, written by Erika Sánchez, is a New York Times-Bestseller, on Time’s list of 100 Best YA Books of All Time, and is currently in production to be a film Adaptation. 

Though she’s achieved great success with this book, Sánchez has revealed through a tweet that her book was rejected multiple times because it was seen as “too much.” To me, this book is the perfect embodiment of the struggles many Latinx children can face. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is not afraid to talk about taboo topics like mental health, suicide, and the toxic sides of beliefs from the older generation of the Latinx community. Since I am the oldest in my family, I resonated with Julia’s older sister since she had to adopt the role of being a perfect daughter. However, I also felt Julia’s struggles with finding her true self and deciding to follow her dreams despite how difficult it feels to take this step away from her family. 

One quote, in particular, struck a chord with me: “I have to live for myself, I have to build upon myself and work as a person, and live up to what I need to do.” I wish I had read this book back when it came out since I would’ve appreciated getting this advice and realizing that it was okay to build your own dreams before going off to college.

While I am not Mexican, this book gives me a voice as a minority. Growing up, there weren’t as many main characters of Latinx background in the books I read, which is what makes this book refreshing. I am grateful the younger generation will grow up with more diverse characters and will find parts of themselves in books like this. 

Professional Writing Major, Social Media Theory & Strategy and Public Relations Minor with a love for books and music.