Erika L. Sánchez hooks readers with her poignant, informative and captivating young adult novel “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.”
Following the journey of Julia, she embarks on a mission to discover the mysterious, serrective life of her “perfect” sister Olga before her untimely passing. Along the way, Julia matures from a confrontational and moody teenage girl to a softer, more understanding young woman who can empathize with her family’s history and the hidden struggles individuals face.
Sánchez celebrates Mexican culture by informing readers about the traditions and customs of Mexican culture. Shedding an insightful and honest look on the haunting nature of grief and absence, Sánchez showcases the importance of how open communication can help one’s healing process.
Sánchez elaborately describes and depicts the emotional rollercoaster of being a teenage girl with vivid imagery, while addressing depression and the abuse occurring from Julia’s overly-controlling parents.
Taking place in Chicago, Sánchez’s novel switches to a playful, light-hearted tone when Julia moves away to reside with relatives in Mexico periodically. The writing style is simplistic making for an easy read.
Some of the book has witty and laugh-out-loud moments but contains heavy trigger warnings that most young adult authors tend to shy away from.
The characters inside of “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” range from comical to hostile. Sánchez gives the readers a well-developed background of the characters, but some fell short of being likeable and sympathetic.
Overall, Sánchez’s novel is nothing short of mesmerizing and educational. Sánchez beautifully intertwines English and Spanish, complimenting and completing the story’s premise and celebration of identity.