Title: THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ by Lilliam Rivera
Genre: YA Contemporary
THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:
Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.
With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…
Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.
This was one I randomly picked up in March because I wanted to read and review a book by an #ownvoices Latinx author. I read this really quickly and thought it was pretty engaging, but I felt like something lacked. You know when you can’t really work out what you didn’t like about a book, you just know it wasn’t a full 5 stars? That’s this one for me.
I think this was a case of it’s me not you because I didn’t realise how young Margot was before reading this. I’ve read a bunch of YA lately at the older end of the YA spectrum- mostly 17-18 year old protagonists and so naturally, the protagonists I’ve been reading lately have been more mature than Margot, since she’s only 15. In saying that, I think Rivera portrayed Margot’s struggle and yearning to fit in really well throughout the novel. Margot rebelled against her family a little, she was kind of cut-off from her childhood best friend and she did questionable things in order to try to fit in with her friends from school. The family dynamic was interesting to read and I think the relationship between her friends and her relationship with Moises were really authentic and pretty well-developed. Rivera managed to capture the struggles of beeing a teenager really well.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the plot going into this one, but I feel like I expected the beach party to come sooner. I think the plot was relatively well paced and since I finished this rather quickly, it did keep me thoroughly engaged. I was expecting Margot to be more involved in fighting against gentrification, but that’s more my problem for having those preconceived expectations. My only real issue with the plot is that I feel the ending could have been expanded a little. After we find out about her father, everything after that felt really rushed. In saying that, I was really happy with the resolution at the end, I only wish the ending could have been a little longer and better developed!
Rivera has very solid writing for a debut novelist. I loved the little lists included and I feel like her writing was really easy to get into. She tackled some serious subjects in here- drug abuse & some family problems to name a few, and I think she handled them well. I think I’ll definitely be reading more of Rivera’s work.
Whilst this wasn’t my fave contemporary out there, I definitely recommend you give this a read. There are some important discussions about gentrification and fitting in as a minority at a majority white school and it’s great to see an #ownvoices Latina author!
Thanks for reading!