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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter | Erika L. Snchez
Long-listed for the National Book Award! The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian meets Jane the Virgin in this poignant but often laugh-out-loud funny contemporary YA about losing a sister and finding yourself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican-American home. Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olgas role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But its not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sisters story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?
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Julia is in high school when her older sister Olga gets accidentally killed by a semi truck. Her parents (illegals from Mexico NOTE: Julia prefers that title). The family lives in a cramped, cockroach infested apartment in Chicago. Her mother is incredibly protective and the whole family is mourning Olga‘s death. By snooping in her sister‘s room, Julia discovers she was not the perfect daughter they imagined.

Amoon I need to add that Julia is totally miserable and her parents don‘t know her at all ( same way I felt growing up). 2mo
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Thanks @LA_Mead for the great #poutinepenpals. #thanksgivingswap

I am looking forward to reading these!


StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Love those socks. 🧡📚🍁🦃 4mo
LeahBergen Hi, Sharon! Did your #HauntedHollowSwap arrive safely? My tracking says it was delivered on Thursday. 🤞🤞 3mo
DinoMom @LeahBergen I have been away for two weeks And not home until tomorrow night. My husband said some packages came for me. So assuming it did. I will let you know! 3mo
LeahBergen Oh, perfect! Yes, I saw you were away but now that I know your husband was home on “package duty”… all is good! 😆 3mo
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2.5 ⭐️

I read through this book because it was a Buddy Read and I had people to commiserate with over the horrible characters. I really didn't find anyone in this story to be likable. The suspense surrounding Olga kept me a bit interested, but really everything about the situation and the interactions felt so over the top. I wouldn't recommend it, but to each their own.

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Meh. This books had a lot of things to say, but the plot went in too many different ways. None of the elements got fully explored, and the story got too meandering. Sometimes less is more, and I wish the author would have separated some of her different plot ideas into different books.


marleed I feel the same way. There‘s just no way one 15 year old could have all those personal experiences in a single year and come out on the other side even slightly okay. I feel the author could have picked one or two - hell, even five - to weave a better story. 4mo
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Read for #SundayBuddyRead I found this YA novel to be OK—I didn‘t love it and I didn‘t hate it. I think it had a lot of potential but was bogged down by too many plot points that didn‘t seem to go anywhere which diminished any power in its messages. I liked seeing the MC, Julia, grow & come into herself but it overall, left me wanting. I‘m glad I read it with the group as the discussions always help keep me going & give me new insights.

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This one started off strong and has some important topics to address, but it really went sideways and was a bit scattered. While it somewhat found it‘s way back, it ultimately was a meh. Read for #sundaybuddyread

Karisa Exactly! 💗 4mo
fredthemoose Totally agree! 4mo
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What stuck out to you reading ?

What else is there to discuss?

megnews I think you covered it all. Thanks for leading such a great discussion! 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews 🤍 gets a little dicey with all the nuances. I‘m always thankful for kind discussions and listening to and gaining insights and knowledge from others perspective. 4mo
ravenlee Good discussions! Thanks for letting me drop in on the group. 4mo
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DebinHawaii What stuck out to me is the chance to look at a life so different than mine which I always find interesting. You covered all the important points in the divisions. Great job leading it as usual. 🤗 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee you‘re always welcome to. I‘m glad I read it as librarians who haven‘t read it are suggesting it to teens I wanted to read it for awhile. I‘m glad for everyone‘s input to help me look at it in different ways. 4mo
Sargar114 @DebinHawaii I loved that aspect as well. That part of the story really felt genuine to me. Discussion was wonderful as usual! 4mo
Catsandbooks Thanks for the discussion! 4mo
mollyrotondo I am glad this story was centered around a family of a different cultural background than mine. That is always the most interesting part for me in YA contemporary fiction. Not so much the teen issues since my adult mind finds it hard to get into that but the different family and cultural traditions are still great for me to learn from in YA. 4mo
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There are help interview and questions at the end of my book I kinda skimmed. Did you have these or read them ?
This book had MANY PLOT LINES/ a ton of characters/MANY SERIOUS ISSUES. Too much?

AmyG I did not read them. I would have preferred a little more depth and perhaps fewer plot lines. (edited) 4mo
megnews I had an ebook and I don‘t recall seeing this. I may have skipped over it. This would probably be a selective recommendation for the right teen. 4mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG more depth fewer characters fewer plot lines going off into the weeds… 4mo
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TheBookHippie @megnews I am so undecided. I think read as a group and discussion piece is okay. Off on their own reading this I‘m afraid would cause harm. 4mo
vlwelser Too many plot lines for sure. This needed more focus. There was no reason to include so much random stuff. 4mo
corireadslife Agree agree agree with fewer plot lines and more depth 4mo
TheBookHippie @vlwelser it needed a good edit! 4mo
Karisa I skimmed those additions at the end too. They were in my ebook from Libby edition. I agree with @megnews I could see recommending it to the right young person but not a book to broadcast for all 4mo
Sargar114 It started off strong, and then was a bit all over the place…and then neatly wrapped up. Made for a weird read. Agree probably not a required reading for all, but makes for some good discussion and maybe the right audience could handle. 4mo
ravenlee Good premise but it reads like a first draft. Plot threads that go nowhere, characters who serve no purpose and randomly disappear from the story, no believable resolution…this should be better than it is. 4mo
DebinHawaii I did skim through the questions & study guide but wasn‘t that impressed about what was asked/discussed. I agree about too many characters & plot points. It scratched the surface of a lot of important issues but didn‘t dive deep enough into any of them. 4mo
fredthemoose Totally agree with @ravenlee about this reading like a first draft and that it should be better than it is! 4mo
TheBookHippie @fredthemoose needed a HUGE EDIT! 4mo
fredthemoose @TheBookHippie it really did. Another thing that bugged me forever was her having a quinceanera at the end of her junior year, a few weeks before her 16th birthday when most juniors would be 17. Several chapters later there was a passing reference to her skipping a grade, but it was an afterthought and came way after that information was needed. 4mo
TheBookHippie @fredthemoose it was a hot mess!!! 4mo
ravenlee @fredthemoose there was actually something about her having skipped a grade way back at the beginning, but I agree - by the time we got to her actually being in school, I‘d mostly forgotten about it. I had a moment somewhere near there where I remembered it, but it‘s one of many things that served no real purpose. 4mo
Catsandbooks Author tried to do too much and got lost. Don't know how it's rated so highly and was an award finalist. 4mo
TheBookHippie @Catsandbooks I really am perplexed on that. 4mo
mollyrotondo I agree with everyone. I did not think it was a tight book at all. It started with the sister and then we totally forget about the sister and go off into depression storyline and attempted suicide. But it‘s not necessarily because of the sister dying but because of the pressure from the mother. And then boyfriends and teen drama. It was a hodgepodge of teen issues that didn‘t work for me. I was hoping for something better. 4mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo that is the best description it isn‘t tight, it‘s allll over the place. 4mo
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NYU! Was Julia right to leave?
Did the book end too neatly ?
Would you recommend this book to teens?

AmyG I was happy she left for school and got a chance to have the life she wanted to have. I wasn‘t a huge fan of the book....I think I was a bit too old. 🤣 4mo
megnews I had a counselor once tell me I‘d never get mentally healthy until I wasn‘t living with my family so absolutely Julia was right to go so far. Wish I had. It‘s the natural time for children to begin separating more from their parents anyway. Perhaps it will even improve their relationship since Ama can chill out without the daily controlling/worrying about Julia‘s activities. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews I should have moved away too. I left home however at 17. Best decision ever. Probably saved my life. Thankfully I spent a big chunk of my childhood with my paternal grandma. 4mo
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vlwelser I think this was her best outcome. And I'm not sure I'd recommend this book to anyone. I may have mentioned that in previous weeks. 4mo
corireadslife Agree completely with @megnews 4mo
Sargar114 I agree, it was good for her to leave. I also agree it was pretty neatly wrapped up, but I expected that from a YA. I don‘t know if it would be great reading for a teen, and like @AmyG I think I was a bit too old. Maybe someone in their twenties is he target demo 4mo
ravenlee What @vlwelser said. Glad she got away, hope she takes advantage of the freedom in the right ways. Can‘t imagine whom I would recommend this book to, as there are too many problems. 4mo
DebinHawaii I think going away was the right decision for her. I expected a neat wrap up so I wasn‘t surprised. I would say 17 and above for teens but I don‘t know that I‘d recommend it. I didn‘t hate it but didn‘t enjoy it enough to recommend it to someone. 4mo
fredthemoose I definitely think she needed to leave. Otherwise she would have spent her whole life wondering “what if?”. She also needed to carve her own space and independence and realign the power imbalance with her mom. 4mo
fredthemoose I admittedly don‘t spend a lot of time with teens. I wouldn‘t recommend it because I just thought the book was a bit of a mess overall, not because of the topics covered. 4mo
Catsandbooks I'm glad she left. She needs it! I wouldn't recommend it 4mo
mollyrotondo She definitely needed to leave so good choice. This was not a favorite of mine. I would not recommend this one. 4mo
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Julia doesn‘t want to have kids. Why isn‘t that okay ? A woman does NOT have to have a child. Why is this never taken seriously ?

AmyG I have a daughter who will not have children...by choice. Drives me crazy when people give me that look. Honestly drives me nuts. I know many who probably should have made that decision....and I don‘t say anything. 🤣 Who the hell cares anyway? 4mo
megnews I have a good friend who‘d be a great parent but doesn‘t want children. Someone in a friend group was always telling her she should and she‘d be a great mom. I finally had to nicely say something to them. I don‘t know why in this day and age there‘s still such a stress on this. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews @AmyG 🤯🤯 I just don‘t get it. 4mo
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vlwelser This was also a weird addition to the story. And it comes up more than once. 4mo
corireadslife Story of my life. I also have PCOS so when people just assume I can get pregnant with the snap of a finger it is like cool story… I should stop before I get in my soapbox here lol 😂 4mo
TheBookHippie @corireadslife I have PCOS 😫 my kids are 17.5 years apart- last one is my menopause baby 😳🤷🏻‍♀️ people often ask did you plan that -why didn‘t you have them closer together 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ I was told I‘d have no children. Oy. I feel your struggle. 4mo
corireadslife @TheBookHippie ugh the struggle is real! glad I‘m not alone 💞 4mo
Sargar114 @vlwelser agree it was weird. I will only say is Julia is only 18, so making that decision for her current and future self is easy but life circumstances do change. I think Ama‘s opinion is based more on cultural and her upbringing along and the expectations of women. 4mo
ravenlee I HATE when people make a big deal of this. I didn‘t want to get married, didn‘t want kids, for what felt like a long time. I changed my mind on both counts, but it took quite a while and a lot of self-reflection. And it was nobody‘s business! My SIL works in healthcare and she got so sick of patients being obnoxious about her childless-by-choice status that she started telling stories about her adopted kids - Raven is black, Henry is Asian… 4mo
ravenlee They‘re both cats, Raven is a black DSH and Henry‘s a Siamese! 4mo
AmyG @ravenlee Ha! So people want a story, they want to hear what they want to hear. Jeez. And she is a cat Mom. I say it counts! 4mo
AmyG @TheBookHippie @corireadslife Our son and wife hve 1 son. People always ask will they have another and when I say no they ask why (like it‘s their business). So I tell them the truth-she hs an autoimmune blood issue and the first pregnancy could have killed her. Shuts people up. Everyone is so damn nosy and opinionated. 4mo
ravenlee @AmyG no joke. My sister‘s first pregnancy ended with an emergency c-section at 28 weeks because of eclampsia, she could have died (and her son was in the NICU for weeks). Second time she developed gestational diabetes. She just says she doesn‘t want to see what‘s behind door #3. I had a traumatic delivery and recovery so my kiddo is an only, and people think it‘s their business to offer their opinion. I inform them otherwise when necessary. 4mo
DebinHawaii Having never married or had children, my favorite question is “But who is going to take care of you when you are old/can‘t take care of yourself?” 🤬 4mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG ughhhh people!!! And I almost died having my son. People actually asked me if I was going to have a sibling for him because his sister was at college 😳 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee I tell people I‘ve only had sex twice therefore two kids 😂😂😂 4mo
ravenlee @TheBookHippie my favorite response I‘ve ever seen to “when are you two going to have a baby?!” was “well, I could call you every time we have sex so it‘s likely you‘d be the first to know!” And then people get grossed out because they don‘t want to know about your sex life…which is different from your reproductive life, how, exactly? 4mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii Because every child takes care of their parent ? What a dumb thing to say and reason 😡 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee 😂😂😂👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 gahhhh people. 4mo
Sargar114 @ravenlee 😂🤣😂🤣. I have twin boys, and people ask if we‘re going to try for girls…my response is only if they plan on raising them 4mo
Catsandbooks Ugh yeah this drove me crazy! Not everyone is the same. And just cause you want kids doesn't mean you can have them. People have been asking me and my husband since before we got married. After years of doctors, this year we found out my husband can't have children. Luckily theres not one way to have a family. You never know where someone is on their journey to have or not have children. Best not to ask at all. 4mo
AmyG @TheBookHippie Ha! My son actually told me once he knows we had sex 3 times because we had 3 kids. And conversation because we had twins….so sex twice. 😂😂😂 @Sargar114 I have twin girls. The first time I had one, the second time two. When people asked if I‘d have more…I told them I wasn‘t a fool. (edited) 4mo
ravenlee @Sargar114 I love it! Mind your own business, people. 4mo
Sargar114 @AmyG exactly!!! 😂🤣😂🤣 4mo
mollyrotondo @DebinHawaii someone asked me this too. An older man with one son told me I‘d want kids some day because I‘d want someone to take care of me when I‘m old. I mean how selfish of a reason is that right? You had your son because you‘re worried about yourself is what you are saying. I can go on and on about this childless by choice backlash. People bother me all the take about me not wanting kids. Dating was a real struggle but I have luckily just ⬇️ 4mo
mollyrotondo ...recently found an amazing guy who also doesn‘t want kids and he is wonderful in a million other ways. The pressure comes from all over for women to give birth and raise kids. It‘s a difficult pressure for some women and it‘s frustrating as all hell for us women who know that we don‘t want that life. People are so rude. My uterus is not for everyone to discuss and have an opinion on. 4mo
DebinHawaii @mollyrotondo Exactly! I totally get your frustration. People are just so rude about it. I was also told so many times “if you don‘t have children, you‘ll regret it someday!” Again not your business rude people & I never have regretted it.🤬 4mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo UGHHH people. Seriously none of their business. I‘m so glad you found someone. How wonderful. 4mo
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Julia swimming and releasing stress.
Should all teens be in some form of movement activities? Should everyone or can people live without it?

AmyG I believe we all should be moving more...however we choose.it‘s better for us physically and mentally. 4mo
megnews There are studies about higher self confidence in girls who participate in a sport. I also know there‘s studies on movement for stress and depression relief. Overall a healthier choice. 4mo
vlwelser Endorphins are magical. Everyone should have a release like this. 4mo
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corireadslife Love movement for everyone and love that movement can take so many different shapes and forms! 4mo
Sargar114 Agree that movement of some kind is good for the body and soul. 4mo
ravenlee I was so glad she found an activity that helps her feel more in control, especially as it seemed to be helping with her body image - hooray for that being about feeling healthy rather than weight loss! 4mo
DebinHawaii I think it is good for everyone to have a physical outlet especially if we can decide what that outlet is. 4mo
Catsandbooks I'm glad she felt better. I think joyful movement is good, but only if they're able. 4mo
mollyrotondo I just think it‘s good for everyone to be involved in some activity that gets their mind off their stress and anxiety. I am not a sports person by any means but I had music that helped me with anxiety. Now as an adult I have dance. It‘s good to have whatever activity that helps give our minds a break from person problems. 4mo
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Was Lorena right. “You think he sees us without seeing ghetto?”

Did Conner just see Julia the same as himself? Was he just naive ?

AmyG I think he was naive. I think he believed he saw her for herself, and on some level he probably did. 4mo
megnews I don‘t think Lorena was right. I think he enjoyed their conversation. He didn‘t even know where she lived so how could he know. 4mo
vlwelser I wasn't sure where they were going with this. Lorena doesn't even give him a chance. 4mo
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TheBookHippie @vlwelser 🤷🏻‍♀️ me either. It‘s a whole other topic and muddies the waters so to speak. 4mo
corireadslife @vlwelser Yup! Confused over here too 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
Sargar114 In this case it made Lorena seem limited as well. I think Connor didn‘t put much thought into her socioeconomic status compared to his, he liked her and the conversation. 4mo
Karisa I saw it as a protective stance from Lorena. Not explored too much but that is what happens with friends‘ first impressions sometimes 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
ravenlee Agree that Connor‘s naive, also that Lorena is prejudiced herself (defense mechanism, much?). I‘m not sure exactly what Connor‘s role in the story was, because it seemed to shift a lot. Then I was disappointed in the way their relationship became so impermanent, when Julia needed something definite (even if it was a definite ending). 4mo
DebinHawaii I think as they met outside of Julia‘s normal life he probably was aware he had more money but probably not the extent of the difference. 4mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii I think you‘re right. How could he know? 4mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa good point! 4mo
Catsandbooks I think Lorena is rude as a defense mechanism. But also that Connor chooses not to see Julia as a whole person but only a part. 4mo
mollyrotondo I don‘t think Connor was thinking that much about it. He is a teenager. He‘s not thinking about the future. He was into the moment with Julia and not thinking beyond that. I think he would have been worried about bringing a girl of a different class around his parents as he gets older but not as a teen on his way to college. 4mo
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Why do people always lie to themselves and others? Why family secrets? Is it best to keep quiet in Julia‘s case?

AmyG My family was full of some doozies when it came to family secrets. By the time I learned of them I was older....I just didn‘t care. They were a very dysfunctional group. But I also think for my parents....it was how things were done. Show the outside world that all is fine...put on a happy face. 4mo
megnews Ugh. Same as @AmyG Put on a pretense. I wasn‘t down with it from a young age so I was the scapegoat. I think people do it because everyone else is doing it and making life look great. People ask how we are and we all say fine. I thought our generation would do better but With social media I think this is only getting worse. 4mo
AmyG @megnews Yep…I was just going to say that social media hs made this all worse. Much worse than my parents generation. (edited) 4mo
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TheBookHippie @megnews I‘ve said repeatedly I‘m so glad I didn‘t have social media the first four decades of my life 😂 it‘s something I feel for kids. @AmyG soooo many secrets here too! Blew my mind. (edited) 4mo
corireadslife I think if Julia would have told her parents now they wouldn‘t have believed her so it was best for her to keep the secrets. Maybe one day down the line if they have a better relationship and a greater respect for one another, Julia can share what she knows. 4mo
Sargar114 This is definitely a complicated situation. It actually makes me appreciate the book title that much more. Who isn‘t perfect, Julia or Olga or both? I can see why the truth wouldn‘t benefit/or hurt (really) anyone other than relieve Julia, but I think ultimately it would be good for them to truly know both of their daughters 4mo
Karisa There did not seem to be anyway that the pregnancy secret could help anyone. Her parents would‘ve spiraled with that news. Better they do not know. Agree with thoughts on social media ⬆️ too (Litsy being a totally different place!) 4mo
ravenlee There are secrets you keep because they benefit you, and there are secrets you keep (even though they eat at you) because of the harm they would do to someone you love. And some secrets need to be kept forever while others have to wait for their time. I hope someday Julia could share her grief over the baby with her parents, when they might understand better. 4mo
DebinHawaii I see no benefit other than relieving Julia that the secret be shared. Maybe in the future, but I feel like it isn‘t ever going to help her parents or Julia‘s relationship with them. 4mo
Catsandbooks I hope she is able to tell them one day but right now it's probably best if they work on their relationship. 4mo
Sargar114 @Karisa it‘s funny, I suppose Litsy is technically social media I never really think of it that way 😂🤣😂🤣 4mo
mollyrotondo Family secrets will never go away. I think that‘s because we all do things at some point in our lives that we aren‘t proud of so we don‘t talk about it with anyone or just a close friend like Olga with her best friend. For as much as Julia might want to tell her parents it probably won‘t benefit them. The baby isn‘t in the world and their daughter is gone. I hate secrets but I feel like Julia needs to keep that secret. 4mo
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Lorena what do you think of their friendship now?

AmyG She turned out tobe a good friend. They were all navigating their youth....not easy as we can all remember. 4mo
megnews Agree with @AmyG 4mo
corireadslife Agree for sure with @AmyG 4mo
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vlwelser Lorena might be the best part of this book. She definitely has a solid head on her shoulders. 4mo
TheBookHippie @vlwelser She seemed more grown and wise on the teenage level at least. More reality centered, more streetwise. 4mo
Sargar114 I liked Lorena as well. I like that she‘s a survivor and that she‘s going to nursing school, I hope she makes it out! 4mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 that‘s me and I made it. I did nursing for 20 years then switched to education 🙃 4mo
Karisa 💗💗💗 4mo
ravenlee She turned out way better than she started. Too many threads in this book, and so many go nowhere - Lorena‘s stepdad being a perv, then she stole his money and nothing happened…some of that was really unnecessary and distracting. 4mo
DebinHawaii I like Lorena and think she was and hopefully will be a good friend to Julia in the future. Hope she does well. 4mo
Catsandbooks @ravenlee I agree! Author tried to do too much. Happy with how Lorena turned out 4mo
mollyrotondo I honestly didn‘t care about Lorena by the end either. Her storylines just fell flat so I sort of stopped paying attention to her. 4mo
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She was with him four YEARS?!
And he‘s NOW divorced?!
What did you think of him?

So what do you think of the sister? Did she just handle the parents differently ?

AmyG Oy. Not a fan of the married man having an affair for 4 years.i guess he will have to live with his decisions and his choices. It was all so sad. 4mo
megnews I detest infidelity. I do think Olga handled the parents differently. She understood they wouldn‘t change and lived her life secretly to maintain the peace. Julia‘s like “heck no! I want to be me without all the secrets!” Two different kids. Did anyone else think we may find out that Olga stepped out in front of the bus on purpose because of the situation with the doctor? I still wonder. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews I DID!!!!! I thought she felt hopeless and just ended it. I also detest infidelity with everything in me. 4mo
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corireadslife Ugh this to me just made me sad and not really where I saw the book going. I‘m glad Julia uncovered the truth though. 4mo
vlwelser Am I the only one that no longer cared about the Olga storyline by the time she got to this? 4mo
TheBookHippie @vlwelser I‘m thinking no. I didn‘t care either 😂 4mo
corireadslife @vlwelser lol yeah I was kind of over it at this point. 4mo
Sargar114 This was just so sad. The dr felt like a cliched character, stringing along the side piece but never leaving. @megnews I didn‘t think that…but I can believe it given the clear mental health issues in the family! 4mo
Karisa @megnews @thebookhippie That was my first thought too with Olga/the bus. That the smirk was a giving up of hope when faced with letting down her family/religious beliefs and feeling trapped… 4mo
Karisa @vlwelser Yeah, and so weird because Olga‘s secret was the driving force behind the beginning of the book. Once Julia started getting more of her own life, Olga‘s story paled 4mo
megnews @vlwelser it seemed inconsequential by the end as @karisa mentions 4mo
megnews @corireadslife I also didn‘t think the story needed to go there. There are very strict families because they are very strict families. There are very strict families because of religion and it can also be a cultural thing. The author didn‘t really have to add to the storyline. 4mo
ravenlee The doctor is just a sad shell of a man, and rightly so. Like so many, I have zero tolerance for infidelity. I did kind of wonder if Olga realized she was in an impossible situation and just gave up: she couldn‘t hide the pregnancy from her parents for long, and if dude actually left his wife to be with her it probably wouldn‘t be any better to them than if she were to be an unmarried mom. It would have broken her family. 4mo
ravenlee But, like @vlwelser and @TheBookHippie I just didn‘t care anymore. 4mo
DebinHawaii It ceased being important for me & wasn‘t that surprising. I didn‘t feel like she stepped in front of the bus on purpose though. I thought that she thought the baby would be the thing that would finally make him leave his wife but who knows?! 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
fredthemoose Hi everyone—I‘m late to the party, but wanted to share that I also got to the point of not caring about this, I think because we knew so little of Olga that I just wasn‘t invested in her story. It also took SO LONG to get to this! It was close to 2 years after her death that the story got here and it mostly left me rolling my eyes. 4mo
TheBookHippie @fredthemoose It was like an after thought right?! You‘re not late we generally talk through Tuesday or later 😂 people join in when they can 🙂 4mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii maybe so. The fact that he‘s now divorced without her seemed like just dessert to me. 😬 4mo
Catsandbooks It just seemed unnecessary. I was over all of it! 4mo
mollyrotondo I‘m so glad I wasn‘t the only one who was totally over the Olga thing by the time it was all revealed. The doctor was disgusting and a cliche. I at first thought the doctor killed her but I was definitely wrong about that lol she might have stepped in front of the bus on purpose. The story became more of a kids with depression and anxiety story so the Olga thing became so unimportant by the end. 4mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo I think we were allll over it… 😝 4mo
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Prayer group- OY
I just cannot🤦🏻‍♀️
Discuss amongst each other …

AmyG I‘m out. 🤣 4mo
megnews As a Christian, I understand prayer group. As a Christian, I understand love. I was glad Julia spoke up. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews I understand them and also love. I‘ve found them to generally be hate or gossip filled. None of it good. Or like portrayed here in this book. I went to a parochial school. Mom is Catholic- Dads side is Jewish and Protestant. So I‘ve had decades of experience with them. And raised with multi religious teachings. I‘m also fascinated that this is where Alma went. Hopefully somewhere there‘s a good group that can work. Not my experience. 4mo
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TheBookHippie @AmyG Tough one for me admittedly. 4mo
AmyG @TheBookHippie Oh, I know. 😘 4mo
corireadslife While I think the idea of them is intended to be good, they end up being very negative and a place for people to gather and pray about what they dislike in someone… which to me should not be the point of a prayer group. I‘m proud of Julia speaking up though… good for her. 4mo
vlwelser They lost me with the father that thought being gay was wrong. 4mo
Sargar114 Yeah this was rough. I appreciated the effort Julia was making in mending her relationship with her mother by attending, but glad she spoke up when people were being a-holes 4mo
Karisa It felt like her mom‘s free version of untrained group therapy. I was glad that Julia spoke up (go Julia!) and that no one did a laying on of hands or speaking in tongues. . . 4mo
ravenlee Ugh, it was awful. I‘m just gonna say: confirmation bias. All those people were getting confirmation that they were the victims, that they were wronged - and they can‘t handle the possibility that they were responsible for some of their own suffering. Good on Julia for speaking out. 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 4mo
DebinHawaii Yeah, I don‘t think I am the one to weigh in on this either. I grew up without a religious foundation & have no experience with them but my experience with a sister who found a fundamentalist church & used to tell me ALL the ways I was going to hell when I was a teenage & that she & her prayer group talked about me & prayed for me don‘t give me good thoughts about them. 🤷🏻‍♀️Yay for Julia speaking up! 4mo
Catsandbooks So glad Julia spoke up cause I wanted to strangle that guy! I don't have good experiences with religion either. I grew up in a very catholic household. After my father committed suicide I was told he was going to hell. People have the right to believe what they want, but don't push it on others. 4mo
TheBookHippie @Catsandbooks That last part. Don‘t push it on others. I‘m so very sorry people were so cruel. Like they even know. Horrific to say that to someone. May his memory be a blessing🤍 4mo
ravenlee @Catsandbooks that‘s so horrible! I‘m sorry people were so awful - especially people whose religion is supposed to be about love. 4mo
mollyrotondo I am catholic and went to catholic school K-8. Prayer is a very positive part of my life and was especially treated positively when I was growing up. But my experience with other Catholics as I grew up and tried to stay connected to the church turned into what the group in the book was doing. Too many negative and discriminatory thoughts instead of love and connection. I am glad Julia spoke up. That was me when I was confronted with the same ⬇️ 4mo
mollyrotondo ...types of people. It becomes discouraging honestly. But Julia tried to do something with her mom but made sure she brought some truth and reality to the people who are still wallowing in hatred. This was a rough part. 4mo
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What do you think of their relationship? Is it healthy? A good experience for Julia?

AmyG Connor seemed sweet but....they are young and from two different worlds. And they are so naive. A first boyfriend. Julia has much growing to do and alot to learn. (edited) 4mo
megnews I think it displayed a typical relationship with teens. Sometimes you break up and don‘t understand the reason. She‘ll move on in college. Agree with @AmyG 4mo
corireadslife I agree completely with @AmyG here. 4mo
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vlwelser I think this was a rite of passage that young people need to go through. 4mo
Sargar114 Agreed, doesn‘t seem like it will go beyond first relationship sort of things. It seemed they both realized that but wanted to enjoy the moment. 4mo
ravenlee As first relationships go it seems pretty standard. @AmyG naive is a good word. I think Connor doesn‘t realize how hard life is for Julia and he can‘t be the solid support she needs (is she asking too much? Maybe, or maybe he‘s just too sheltered to be ready for that). He‘s helped her feel better about herself, see herself differently, at least a little. Maybe that‘s all he needs to be for her. 4mo
DebinHawaii I think he was good for her at the time but as @AmyG said more a first boyfriend than anything lasting. 4mo
Catsandbooks Definitely a first boyfriend and nothing beyond that. College will be good for them both. 4mo
mollyrotondo It was nice for her to have that connection with someone but I found it annoying when he said something like let‘s enjoy this for now and see what happens. It‘s a typical young guy move which makes me cringe lol but sure it was nice for her to have a first boyfriend. 4mo
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Chinese dinner Ama Julia..
What do you think of their relationship?
Did the book handle this okay?
What if a verbally abused teen reads this ?
Would it help or hurt?

AmyG I think their relationship will grow....as Julia does and also Ama. They both seem to want to have a relationship...I‘d@like to think they will with time. I grew up with a verbally abusive and controlling step-father. I didn‘t view this relationship as verbally abusive. 4mo
megnews I see it more as control and neglect than verbal abuse. The book message seems to put the onus for repairing the relationship on Julia. Technically I think it‘s on Ama. However, again Julia will have to decide how much to interact with Ama for her health. The book kind of leaves that out so I‘m not sure a teen who hasn‘t matured or had therapy to realize this will understand that. I do think the separation to college sends the message somewhat ⬇️ 4mo
megnews ⬆️but not necessarily clearly enough and all teens can‘t do that. 4mo
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TheBookHippie @AmyG @megnews I think it was emotional controlling abuse for sure but the verbal quips were harmful and hurtful. No clear resolve really other than she left for college. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
megnews @TheBookHippie I‘d love a follow up on Julia‘s experiences in NYC 4mo
AmyG Yes. I saw it more as controlling. Though control and verbal abuse come hand in hand many times. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews YES! I think that would help the narrative. 4mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG that was my thought. 4mo
corireadslife I see this as emotional abuse but honestly believe it is unintentional. They are trying their best with what they have and know. I also cannot forget that Ama and Apa have a different culture than myself so what looks unacceptable to me may not be unacceptable to them. Ultimately, I think their relationship will grow as they learn to accept and support their differences. To me, the ending painted a picture of them all trying. 4mo
TheBookHippie @corireadslife it is still abusive to Julia. Intent doesn‘t matter if impact is hurtful. I think that‘s my problem with this book. The “I had this horrible life so I get to be like I am -who cares if it‘s abusive and harmful- I deserve to be this way” mentality. It‘s dangerous. 4mo
TheBookHippie @corireadslife I do understand what you‘re saying about the cultural differences. I‘m not sure that makes it okay. 4mo
corireadslife @TheBookHippie oh I‘m definitely not saying that it is okay or excuses their behavior. But when I work with my clients, I find it best to start with assuming they are doing their best because if I assume they are just bad, it will really lead us no where and negatively impact our therapeutic alliance. From there I can help provide the tools so that they can learn to do better and become aware of the hurt. That is the perspective I took with Ama. 4mo
TheBookHippie @corireadslife I work with survivors who are told this so often it makes me puke. I‘m also a survivor of childhood emotional verbal abuse. My mother did have an awful life. Didn‘t mean mine had to be. I‘m also a survivor of rape. So my view is skewed. That being said I think some are doing their best. Some don‘t want to or think they don‘t have to because they‘ve done enough. It‘s all a journey and shapes us. Truly fascinating. I love that you ⬇️ 4mo
TheBookHippie @corireadslife ⬆️approach it that way. Very healthy. 4mo
Sargar114 @TheBookHippie I‘m sorry you‘ve had to go through what you have and this book seems to have been triggering. I try to approach it like @corireadslife as well and the ending seemed open to the possibility of growth in their relationship. I would agree it doesn‘t feel polished enough for a teen to comprehend or read, but maybe a college aged person may be better suited to read it. 4mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 college yes. High School library for 13/14-17/18 no. 4mo
Karisa The scene and escaping to college seemed like this book‘s version of a happy ending. I was glad that Ama was at least acknowledging some of it and trying. It seems like that doesn‘t happen so often in real life. Maybe a teen going through something like Julia could read it and realize they aren‘t alone, that they deserve more like Julia, and that there is a world beyond the family bubble for them to join 4mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 I also visit kids I have mentored who have committed sexual assaults and molestations. I don‘t love them less. It is. The part I don‘t like is excusing it to culture or experiences on behalf of the person inflicting harm- purposeful or not -and a young teen reading it and the book causing harm. Alma may truly love Julia, probably does, and she may not realize what she‘s doing- alas it‘s still harming Julia horrifically. Maybe 16 and up? 4mo
corireadslife @TheBookHippie thank you for sharing! 💞 I could never imagine telling a survivor that their abuser is trying their best so that makes me want to puke too! I think it is an approach that can be taken with each individual person and their own actions, but not something to be said as an excuse about another persons actions. Completely agree that some people don‘t want to or think they have done enough. But to me, Ama doesn‘t quite fit into ⬇️ 4mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa let‘s HOPE 🤞🏻 4mo
corireadslife ⬆️ the category of not wanting to change so I still want to give her a tiny bit of hope. But maybe I‘m being too optimistic or skewed towards Ama 🤷🏻‍♀️ (edited) 4mo
TheBookHippie @corireadslife There‘s no such thing as an unredeemable person in my opinion. However they have to do the work. I would hope for Almas sake she would work towards healing herself. She deserves to be whole. 4mo
corireadslife @TheBookHippie agree so much! 4mo
ravenlee I found this scene very abrupt. I know for very religious people having a counseling session with the priest/pastor/etc can be monumental, but this was a HUGE change of character. I would like to be hopeful, but I don‘t really buy it. It‘s easy to tell someone you‘re sorry and want to do better, but following through is another thing entirely. 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee I very much agree. 4mo
megnews @karisa I really love what you said here about teens going through certain situations could find they aren‘t alone. Reading things others would considering triggering is therapeutic to me. In regards to what @corireadslife said about culture, I agree. It took some effort for me, but I‘ve found I have to check my privilege when I‘m putting my worldview on others. I also agree with @TheBookHippie said about hurt people hurt people us true but ⬇️ 4mo
megnews ⬆️ doesn‘t make it right. At the same time, as it took me years of counseling to accept, some people will not do better. You have to find a way to make the words of the serenity prayer work for you by you finding ways to make it a healthier relationship and as @ravenlee alluded to, there may be times it‘s so unhealthy you have to cut them off which I have also had to do even while telling myself the person can‘t help it. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews Choice. They choose to be the way they are, we can choose to allow them access. There is always choice even if all options are bad you still can chose. That‘s how I look at it. Impact verses intent is tricky but once you‘re told, then it really is choice in my opinion. I‘m so sorry you‘ve had this in your life as well. 4mo
ravenlee @megnews @TheBookHippie I cut both my grandmothers out of my life because they were toxic people. I was forced to invite them to my wedding, but after that I had very little contact with either of them. They were emotionally abusive to everyone in their lives and took great joy in it, and the facts that they‘d had rough lives and were old and set in their ways gave them zero right to pollute my life. I could pity them from afar. 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee my mother and mother in law in a nut shell just no. My grandma was my saving grace. 4mo
megnews @ravenlee @TheBookHippie so sorry for that @ravenlee. In my case my mom is the adult child of an alcoholic who has never gotten any help for it. My dad had multiple affairs when I was growing up. Now he‘s addicted to opiates & she just refuses to acknowledge even when he‘s nodding out. She‘s a retired nurse! I cut them off for about 6 years & recently resumed contact to a very limited degree. Too many secrets and lies for me. I can‘t live like ⬇️ 4mo
megnews ⬆️that. Both my grandmothers were my saving grace. And my paternal grandmother practically raised me til she died when I was ten. (edited) 4mo
ravenlee @megnews I‘m so glad you had people who treated you right. My mother turned out amazingly healthy for having been raised how she was and my dad…well, he‘s better than his parents but he also wasn‘t home a lot when I was growing up. I‘ve been very lucky. 4mo
Catsandbooks Like @ravenlee said I also found this to be very abrupt. I was like did someone have a body swap while Julia was gone?! Actions speak louder than words though. Someone can apologize over and over but unless they truly put in the work and change it means nothing. I wish we would have seen further into the future with their relationship to see if things really did change between them. One thing I was very glad to see was Julia continuing therapy! ⬇️ 4mo
Catsandbooks I hope she continues therapy even while she she's at college. I think the distance between Ama and Julia will be good for them. I also hope her parents get help as they clearly need it. 4mo
mollyrotondo So I definitely thought this past was a little unrealistic. All of a sudden the mother realizes that she should treat Julia better? I didn‘t think that would be helpful for teens who have abusive parents. It‘s not a light switch. Yes both parties should try to work things out but the book made it seem like it was easy. I wasn‘t crazy about how it was handled in the book. 4mo
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Ama -should what happened to her destroy her, her life, Julia‘s relationship with her?
Was it worth it? Was/Is Ama awful to Julia because she doesn‘t see the sacrifice ?




AmyG Ama did what she did to give her children a better life. She is way stronger a woman than we knew. I don‘t know why she behaved the way she did to Julia....we didn‘t know what Ama ever thought. I also think it‘s generational. The parent who lived through great sacrifice and hard times....sees their child‘s life as easy compared to theirs. (edited) 4mo
megnews Again, I agree with @amyg about the immigrant seeing their child‘s life as easier. But wasn‘t that the point? If Ama had worked through what happened to her it didn‘t have to destroy her. But some people yes, it destroys them. I will say I found it odd that her reaction was toward Julia and not Olga. While I do think it‘s possible to love a child who was a result of rape, I think it would be a difficult reminder. It doesn‘t compute with Ama‘s ⬇️ 4mo
megnews ⬆️personality and reaction to this incident to me. 4mo
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megnews Also let me just say those statistics suck. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews Awful statistics. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews The psychology around that is fascinating. I do think Olga just figured the least path of resistance and Julia was helll no this is ridiculous. 4mo
AmyG @TheBookHippie I agree about Olga and Julia. Siblings can be completely opposite each other. 4mo
corireadslife To me, Ama is incredibly strong and resilient. I honestly don‘t think I can judge Ama because we never knew what she was thinking or feeling. I want to believe that she didn‘t embrace the grieving process but grieving is heavily impacted by culture. That being said, I don‘t think she fully healed from her experiences and while I don‘t believe she intentionally wanted it to hurt her relationship with Julia, she did. Additionally, I agree with ⬇️ 4mo
corireadslife ⬆️ @TheBookHippie that Olga did the path of least resistance and Julia did the opposite. I don‘t think Ama knew how to deal with that contrast in behavior. 4mo
TheBookHippie @corireadslife goes with the saying hurt people hurt people. Alma I agree in I don‘t think she healed much. 4mo
vlwelser This is an awful situation to be in. People flee to the US despite the danger because the situation in their country is even worse. I feel bad for them. I wish our country were more tolerant in general. 4mo
TheBookHippie @vlwelser I so agree. 4mo
Sargar114 Well said @corireadslife! I can see that she was frustrated with Julia for not understanding the full sacrifices she made for them to have a better life. While all her actions were harsh, it‘s seems by the end she realized that and is trying to be better. 4mo
Karisa This reminds me of a play called “Destiny of Desire” that juxtaposes statistics about life as an Hispanic immigrant to the US with a rollercoaster telenovela plot line. It was hard to tell which part was more shocking since the facts were like the statistics stated above. Saw it at Oregon Shakespeare festival a few years back and it still haunts me. Hoping it will have more runs someday 4mo
BookishBelle Not seeing things from AMA‘s perspective, it‘s hard to know if what happened to her is the reason her relationship with Julia is so bad (unless I missed something). Either way, I think some time in family therapy would help. 4mo
ravenlee I agree with all of this - and like @megnews I was surprised that it was Julia and not Olga who was the object of Ama‘s spite. Maybe Olga felt pressured to be perfect, angelic, all the time, even without knowing about Ama‘s rape. Maybe she just knew that she had to live up to Ama‘s ideal without knowing why. 4mo
ravenlee From what the aunt and the grandmother told Julia, were we supposed to see that Julia is more like Ama than she knows, and that Ama‘s trying to protect Julia from what happened to her? I think it‘s kind of a stretch, but maybe? 4mo
megnews @ravenlee if that‘s what the author wanted us to see I like it less. Are we supposed to believe the rape was somehow Ama‘s fault because of her personality? Obviously survivors sometimes blame themselves but I think it‘s the wrong message for the book. Hmmmm 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee I took it that way. 4mo
DebinHawaii This statistics are horrifying. I thought that because Olga seemed so perfect & was home most of the time where Ama could see her & no one in the family knew of her secret life, Ama didn‘t feel she had to worry about her while Julia was always the rebel, always wanting to be out in the world & therefore more the risk in Ama‘s eyes. (And I‘m still not a fan of Ama even after learning her backstory, but maybe a bit more sympathetic). 4mo
ravenlee @megnews @TheBookHippie I got that impression from the grandmother and aunt saying Julia was so much like Ama, more than she could know; and then from Ama telling Julia later that she just wanted so much to protect her. Not sure if Ama blames herself, exactly, so much as she knows Julia could put herself into bad situations like she had done and be unprepared for the results. 4mo
ravenlee Also, can I point out that in this statistic above - the word for “forcing them to have sex as part of payment” is RAPE?! 4mo
megnews @ravenlee YES IT IS!!!! 4mo
Catsandbooks The things immigrants face are absolutely horrific! Doesn't excuse Ama for treating Julia the way she does. 4mo
mollyrotondo I of course feel horrible for Ama and what she had to endure but it is unfair to hang that over your kid‘s head especially without telling your kid everything you went through. I‘m not a fan of parents who act like “here is all I sacrificed or suffered in order to give you a better life or birth you into this life, you owe me.” There is too much of a tug of war between parents and children and I‘m learning that it‘s even worse with first ⬇️ 4mo
mollyrotondo ...Immigrant families. I of course feel bad for Ama but it doesn‘t excuse her for treating Julia the way she does. Julia wants to live a full life in the country Ama escaped to in order for her family to have a better life. I have a lot of problems with Ama so I cannot complete give her a pass. 4mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo I love your response here. I totally agree. It‘s too much on Julia. I still hope people like Ama get help or closure or peace. However don‘t put all your pain on your child. It was too much. 4mo
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Why did the aunt ask Julia make her moms life less difficult ? Shouldn‘t she be telling Ama to be better to Julia? Why is ones burden greater than another? Should they both try? Or because Ama is the adult should she try/know better? What are your thoughts reading?

AmyG The Aunt knew of Ama‘s past and her struggles. I am not sure she knew about Julias. So, as Amas sister, she spoke from that place. And when my adult children behave a certain way or do something I am not to thrilled with....I always remind myself I am the parent and that I will forever teach my children how to behave through how I behave. Not always easy. 4mo
megnews I agree with what @amyg said about the aunt‘s knowledge of the situation. I agree it is the adult‘s responsibility. However, Julia is on the cusp of adulthood and ultimately she will have to work through decisions on boundaries with her mother in order that she can heal and have a healthy life. Not easy 4mo
AmyG @megnews Yes....boundaries indeed! 4mo
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corireadslife I think Aunt was trying to provide some context for Amas behavior or “protectiveness” in hopes of easing their relationship. That being said, I don‘t think it‘s Julias complete responsibility. I think both Julia and Ama have parts to play in improving their relationship. 4mo
vlwelser I thought the aunt was on the right track here. Being kind and understanding is not going to harm Julia in any way. And it might make her life more tolerable. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews BOUNDARIES! And distance. 4mo
Sargar114 I agree @vlwelser Julia is just venturing into adulthood, and while it‘s not her entire responsibility. I think it‘s important to have some empathy and thoughtfulness of others, or at least try. I agree, Ama should have that too, but guessing since Julia was there she was the one getting lectured. 4mo
Karisa Love the quote in the picture! I took a screenshot of that because it speaks to a challenge I‘m going through at work now. 💗 I agree with others above. I can see why her aunt told her and how the responsibility belongs to both Julia and Ama to try to understand where the other is coming from. However, if someone is continually lashing out those around them should give some distance, some space for their own self-preservation 4mo
BookishBelle I agree with what a lot of y‘all said. Ama and Julia both have a responsibility here. I also think Aunt wanted to help Julia understand her mother by providing information she was not likely to get anywhere else. 4mo
ravenlee I can see that giving Julia this information about her mother can make her more understanding, build empathy; but it‘s not Julia‘s job to overlook her mother‘s cruelty to her just because Ama‘s had it hard. You can forgive someone without giving them permission to treat you badly. Forgiveness doesn‘t have to mean enabling. 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 4mo
megnews @ravenlee absolutely!!! 4mo
DebinHawaii I agree with what has been said here. I think it is helpful Julia to know where Ama is coming from & good for her to have empathy for her but she shouldn‘t be expected to just overlook her mother‘s negative actions & behavior because of Ama‘s past. 4mo
DebinHawaii And yes, love this quote! 4mo
Catsandbooks @ravenlee YES!! 🙌🏼 I understand what the aunt was trying to do but she also did not have all the information, nor is she part of the equation. Ama's past does not give her permission to treat her daughter poorly. Boundaries are not a punishment. They're implemented in order to hopefully have a better relationship. Something Julia and Ama both need. 4mo
mollyrotondo I agree with @ravenlee on this one. Julia needs to understand her mother but that does not mean that Julia should overlook her mother‘s mistreatment. It is terribly sad what happened to her mother but there are other ways of dealing with trauma that don‘t include belittling your youngest daughter. 4mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 4mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii me too. Relevant to so many. 4mo
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Catching up on my buddy reads #sundaybuddyread #potteraday

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Finished this one last week but I was waiting for the #SundayBuddyRead before I posted this review. What I took away from this was the more Julia learned about her family‘s past and their trials, the more empathetic she became. Also, seeking help for your mental health is the right thing to do. I was so annoyed with her when she was so angry all the time and wouldn‘t listen to anyone. #112 #BookSpinBingo #12 #BFC21 #4 #BOOKED2021 #SuperSeptember

EadieB Congrats 🎊 on finishing your book! Thanks for participating! 4mo
Allylu @EadieB I love Readathons! 4mo
EadieB @Allylu Me too! 4mo
Cinfhen Glad this covered a few challenges 💕💕💕 4mo
TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! 4mo
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Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

I am so very torn. At first, I had nothing but positive and exciting thoughts. But somewhere in the middle, something changed and suddenly I felt as if the author was getting too crazy, trying to fit in too much, and dropping some completely unexpected bombs. Ultimately, I liked this one but felt the writing could have been executed in a more organized fashion.

wanderinglynn I felt the same. I thought she tried to cram too many issues in and then could only deal with them superficially. It lacked balance. (edited) 4mo
corireadslife @wanderinglynn lacked balance. Yes that is a great way to state it! 4mo
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2.5/5 ⭐️ I think the author tried to do too much in the book and ended up adding unnecessary stuff. Also I hated her mother.


TheBookHippie 🤐agree 🤫I can‘t wait til Sunday!! 4mo
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⭐️⭐️⭐️ I‘m traveling, but may try to join the #SundayBuddyRead discussion for this. I have some thoughts and am interested to hear what others think. I liked a lot of individual elements, but the overall result didn‘t really work for me in some way. I‘m not really sure what to make of it… @TheBookHippie

TheBookHippie Hope you can join in!! I HAVE A LOT TO SAY. Oy. lips zipped til Sunday! 4mo
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Final discussion on this book this SUNDAY! 🤐

Anyone who has read the book feel free to join in on Sunday until then 🤐🤫


Well, today I finished the tagged for #SundayBuddyRead and it was ok. I‘ll save the rest for discussion.

I also finished Sophie‘s World, because I just couldn‘t leave 12 pages sitting there unread for next week! #sophiesworld #deadphilosopherssociety

And Sal & Gabi Break the Universe is a whole lot of fun so far.

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I‘m ready for SUNDAY 🤐🤐🤐🤫

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This just wasn't my favorite. My biggest complaints are that it seemed really unfocused and the transitions were very abrupt. I am not the target audience, however so maybe this would appeal to YA readers.

#SundayBuddyRead with @TheBookHippie
Final discussion on Sunday. Until then 🤐🤐🤐

#BookSpinBingo square 2

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 4mo
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I didn‘t realize I got my first ever #BookSpinBingo The Writing on the Wall yesterday. I have another today after finishing the tagged book for #SundayBuddyRead. While I can‘t deny being annoyed with Julia‘s mother, I give this one 5 stars because I just really like Julia and how she went about figuring out her world and knew the place she wanted in it. This was also my #DoubleSpin book.

TheAromaofBooks Yay bingo!!!!! 4mo
IndoorDame Congratulations!🎉🍾 The first bingo is always so exciting! 4mo
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We get to finish it!!!

My SURPRISE child turns 15 today so I‘ll be offline mostly -I‘ll pop back in later. He keeps me young I think. He medaled yesterday for XC! So it‘s been a good weekend.

I‘ll post our next months reading schedule ASAP

How is this book going to end ?

I thank you so much for these Sundays! 🤍

AmyG Ah, Happy Birthday to your beautiful boy! Have a wonderful day. 4mo
vlwelser I'm looking forward to finishing this one and moving on to the next one which seems like it might be more my thing. 4mo
vlwelser And Happy Birthday to the kiddo. 4mo
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ravenlee Happy birthday, super star! I hope things get better for Julia but that will take some major character changes (for Ama and Julia, at least), and I‘m not sure that would feel real at this point. 4mo
Karisa Hope he has a wonderful birthday and congratulations to him on his medal! 🏃‍♂️🏅Looking forward to seeing how this book ends too—could go anywhere 😅 4mo
DebinHawaii Happy Birthday to your son! 🎉 I‘m still on the fence about this book—I was hoping the author would pull it together this section & I feel like it jumped the tracks again. Still, I am interested in seeing how it turns out & if it all gets pulled together by the end.🤞🏼 4mo
Sargar114 Happy Birthday to your son! I hope this ends with Julia being okay with herself and getting away from her parents; hopefully to college. 4mo
Catsandbooks Happy Birthday to your boy! 🎉💕 Ready for the end of this book. 4mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 you and me both! Jeepers May throw book yet. 4mo
TheBookHippie @Catsandbooks meee too and thanks! 4mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa I‘m afraid to read 😫 we had a good day. 4mo
Sargar114 Lol @TheBookHippie definitely a candidate!!! 4mo
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What happened at the party?
What do you think of Belén?
What next?

It‘s A LOT of plots and characters.

Thoughts ?

megnews I don‘t care for Belen. I do think the trip has helped Julia but it could have turned out so badly. 4mo
corireadslife I am really unsure. I honestly felt like the sudden change in characters and plot and everything kind of threw me off and had me scrambling to follow. But I can‘t say what happened at the party is unusual. I saw similar things when I lived in Mexico. I‘ll be interested to see what happens next. 4mo
AmyG I don‘t care for Belen either. We shall see. I want to read about the rest of her stay in Mexico. 4mo
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vlwelser This novel isn't very focused. Belen does seem interesting. And the grandmother also. We'll see about the money. I wonder if it has something to do with why the parents and everyone left in the first place. 4mo
ravenlee I don‘t like Belen - she seems like a big fish in a small pond, and I think she‘s headed for not-great things. The party and the stuff about the narcos beheading the mayor gave me an idea why so many of the family left. Which reinforces to me that Ama sending Julia to Los Ojos is for Ama‘s benefit, not Julia‘s. 4mo
Karisa This book is definitely more unpredictable than I thought it would be at first. What a scene change! My father-in-law was born and raised in Mexico in Valle de Guadalupe. My husband stayed with his grandparents there many summers. We‘ve visited a few times. This part of the book sounded just like it—wonderful, warm, making do with less, but with a dangerous edge/corruption. 4mo
rjsthumbelina I don't like that the plot keeps veering off course. But, I do like seeing Julia explore her connections to people. I'm worried that Julia won't graduate bc of missing so much school and won't get to go to college 4mo
DebinHawaii It will be interesting to see what happens next after the scene at the party. This book does seem to abruptly jump around into too many side plots & seems to lack focus—I‘m hoping it pulls it all together in the final section. And not a fan of Belen. 4mo
Sargar114 Agree with everyone, the sudden change of scenery along with everything else that happened in this section was jarring and has dropped the enjoyment of the story for me. However, I still like Julia and want her to be successful. It feels like this trip will be mentally healthy/refreshing for her but I hope it‘s not at the risk of her future. I didn‘t form much of an opinion of Belen as it felt like we just met her. 4mo
Catsandbooks This book is all over the place. Like others said the narcos are probably why the parents left. 4mo
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Julia to Mexico. Thoughts ?

Mama Jacinta telling Julia about Ama.
Just because a person has had it rough does it give them the right to be awful to others ?
Are her actions excusable?

megnews I was pissed at Ama. She may have had good intentions (debatable) but to send a kid away right after a suicide attempt would feel like a punishment. 4mo
corireadslife I am still undecided on this. I don‘t believe Julia staying with her parents and being under their constant scrutiny is healthy for her at all. But I also wish they would let her stay and go to college and just be happy. Since they wouldn‘t do that… it makes me think that Julia going to Mexico will be a good thing for her. 4mo
AmyG While it may seem like punishment I am wondering if it was not the best thing for Julia. And I have great trouble with people who take out their pain, stress etc on others. Sure, maybe one lashes out once in a while but apologize. Communicate with words as opposed to lashing out. Not a big Ama fan but trying to understand why she is the way she is which the grandmother may give some insight into. (edited) 4mo
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vlwelser I think it's awful that Ama is so incapable that she has to send her daughter to Mexico instead of dealing with this herself. And she thinks it's ok to pull her out of school for an extended period? So not ok IMO. 4mo
ravenlee Ama and Apa‘s decision was made for the wrong reasons, but it may end up being good for Julia in a completely different way. It keeps her parents from having to deal with their new reality and make any changes in how they live and treat Julia, but now Julia gets to have a little more freedom and a chance not to be the big screw-up all the time. And Ama sucks, for the record. 4mo
megnews @ravenlee I agree it may be best for Julia to get away from them but it could have gone so differently. 4mo
Karisa @vlwelser Right, the timing of it was wrong. During school and right after her suicide attempt? Why not wait until spring break or summer? It felt like they are embarrassed of her and don‘t want to try to help her themselves. 4mo
rjsthumbelina Seems like her parents are desperate to save face, at any means necessary. They didn't tell the family in Mexico the truth about why they were sending her, which is careless and could be dangerous. But, I think Julia needs an opportunity to see more of the world AND more of her family than just her crappy parents and dead sister. 4mo
DebinHawaii As others have said, while her parents seemed to have sent Julia to Mexico to get her issues off of their plate & sweep her suicide under the rug, it is probably is a very good thing for her to get out from under Ama‘s thumb. 4mo
Sargar114 Agree with everyone, definitely fees like they‘re just not wanting to deal with her and sending her away regardless of what it would mean for her future. But also, it does seem to be doing her good, just could have been done in a different way. 4mo
Catsandbooks Yeah she just sent her away to get rid of her so she didn't have to deal with her. But I agree it might be good for her. 4mo
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So trite!
Your thoughts on this new information?

megnews Ugh. 4mo
corireadslife Honestly, the more I learn about Olga, the more I get so angry at Ama for making Julia feel like she is a terrible child. 4mo
AmyG Olga is human. Ama has painted her as a saint. Julia suffers. It‘s all so sad. 4mo
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megnews @corireadslife @AmyG I agree wholeheartedly with both your comments! 4mo
vlwelser Tbh I'm a little bored with the Olga thing. It does make her seem like less of a saint, but also less interesting. 4mo
ravenlee Agree @AmyG but also @vlwelser I feel like Olga made some truly stupid choices (an affair with a married man she works with for four years?! Not finishing college or getting a better job because she‘s waiting around for him?!) but they looked like good behaviors to her parents/family. I think Olga was just kind of a sad and helpless person who let herself be blown about by life. 4mo
Karisa It definitely adds to the theme of “What does it mean to be a good or successful person?” In their family, is it someone who is just more demonstrably affectionate, meek, sacrifice for others, and keep secrets? Or is it better to be freethinking, honest, and independent? So many mixed messages both in the book and in life. 4mo
rjsthumbelina @Karisa that's a really good point. I do think that's one of the messages the book is trying to get across. I suspect that Olga didn't think she could be herself inside that family, very similar to how Julia feels. She thought she had to pretend to be something to be loved by her parents. The tragedy is, she died potentially believing that. And spending her time with a married man - did she believe herself unworthy of being someone's first choice? 4mo
DebinHawaii I look at Olga as being pretty naïve & if you think about how small her world was, although disappointing, it doesn‘t surprise me that she fell for a married creep. 4mo
Sargar114 @vlwelser I‘m starting to agree, that was the first thing to keep me interested in the book, but the more I learn about Julia, the more I want her to focus on herself and get better (and away) 4mo
Sargar114 I just thought of this though…what if Angie was trying to convince Olga to leave him or move on from him when she got hit by the truck and that adds to her guilt about Olga dying… 4mo
Catsandbooks It just makes Olga sad. And also makes me more mad at Ama that she was so blind to her daughter doing these things 4mo
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Lorena and Juanga outside the window.

Did that surprise you? Since we only have Julia‘s point of view do you think they are truly good friends and she can‘t see it or just typical teen friends ?

megnews I think they truly care. 4mo
corireadslife I loved this moment. I think they truly care and Julia gets caught up in their behaviors that she doesn‘t agree with. 4mo
AmyG I think they care, too. But again, they are teens and perhaps don‘t always show they care. 4mo
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vlwelser I thought this was adorable. Lorena and Juanga are great friends. 4mo
ravenlee This did surprise me. Maybe they really have been good friends all along - or maybe Julia‘s actions jolted them out of their complacency and self-interest (which is normal for teens) and made them focus on her for a while. 4mo
Karisa That was a standout moment. I could totally see that in a movie version of this book. I think they were her friends all along but Julia‘s jealousy of Lorena (wanting her best friend all to herself) prevented her from seeing it. 4mo
rjsthumbelina They definitely care about her. This was such a good moment, and I think it succeeded in making her feel loved when she needed it. 4mo
DebinHawaii The dance was a great moment, very sweet. I do think they care & as @AmyG said they are teens & may not always show it. 4mo
Sargar114 @Karisa I could too!!! I loved this part. I think they‘ve always been good friends but Julia has been struggling so much with her depression and grief that she hasn‘t been able to see. They may not be the exact type of people with same social or educational interests they seem to truly care about Julia, flaws and all. That‘s why Lorena came back after their fight at the field trip. 4mo
Catsandbooks This was a sweet moment! Glad to see she has people that care about her! 4mo
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What do you think about her suicide attempt ? The counsellor ?

megnews At one point in the last section when she was thinking about her depression I wondered for a brief second if she would attempt but I didn‘t think the book would go that direction. While it‘s relieves some pressure for Julia, I still don‘t think Ama or her dad get it and will work to make things better. She really needs to get away to college to get healthier. 4mo
corireadslife I thought it came rather abruptly but I‘m not surprised because of everything that Julia was going. I am very thankful she had a counselor though because I think the more people Julia can talk to and be made to feel “normal” and “good”, the better she will be. 4mo
AmyG Trigger, indeed. I almost bailed. I can only say that I hope she and her family get the help they need. Makes the disfunction of MY family growing up look like nothing. 😂 (edited) 4mo
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vlwelser I'm with @corireadslife this was too abrupt. 4mo
ravenlee I wondered if we were headed here, though I hoped Julia might run away instead. Still extreme and dangerous but less permanent. At least her attempt seems to have reminded her parents that they do have another child, which they don‘t always seem to acknowledge. They deal with it amazingly badly, which shouldn‘t be a surprise at this point. 4mo
ravenlee I HATED that the suicide attempt came on the heels of a “disappointment in love.” Yes, the breakup contributed to feelings of hopelessness, but can we please stop glamorizing the Romeo and Juliet bullshit that having a broken heart must equal wanting to die? 4mo
ravenlee Also, I‘m not sure how much good this particular group therapy is doing. I know it can be very helpful sometimes, but I‘ve also seen stories where it just ended up making things worse for the individuals. The boys in the group sounded awful. 4mo
megnews @ravenlee I see what you‘re saying about the Romeo and Juliet theme. I looked at it as MORE isolation and the straw that broke the camel‘s back. I think group therapy is more helpful for adults. Teens may not take it seriously, more sarcastic, less likely to open up. Just my opinion. 4mo
Karisa @ravenlee @megnews Agreed on the group therapy part. With teens, sometimes I worry that it just makes things worse if groups are not carefully formed. Many providers seem to just throw all together regardless of what the struggles are(just from listening to my daughter and some students who‘ve talked about going). Julia‘s time with the counselor was good but way too brief. Seemed like only three sessions? 4mo
ravenlee @megnews @Karisa I‘ve read articles@about teen therapy groups for eating disorders in which the teens were actually trading tips to continue their disorders, rather than trying to combat them, and instances of suicidal teens sharing methods and such. I hope these are outdated (it‘s been years since I read them) and groups are better formed and supervised, but it seems a real risk. 4mo
Karisa @ravenlee When Kaiser offered my daughter group therapy a couple of years ago it was just literally for any teens with mental health problems (from anxiety to suicide to eating disorders to antisocial personality disorder/psychopathic behaviors). They had us parents attend session in a separate room and our kids‘ needs and struggles were so different. We could not really relate. I was afraid if she kept attending, she‘d end up worse 4mo
ravenlee @Karisa exactly! Poorly organized group therapy can be counterproductive. 4mo
rjsthumbelina For me, it made sense bc she had been very unhappy, but I also thought it was just the next sporadic plot point. It doesn't seem like there's a cohesive arc to the story, which is always frustrating for me 4mo
DebinHawaii As others have said it wasn‘t totally unexpected but it was abrupt. I think the counselor would be more helpful than the group therapy but that entire family needs help & that‘s not something I see Ama & Apa ever doing. 4mo
Sargar114 Agree with @corireadslife @vlwelser @DebinHawaii; it was quite abrupt, I almost had to re-read the chapter before to make sure I didn‘t miss something. While I‘ve never been in Julia‘s position, so I can‘t say for certain, but reading her story as we have it felt a bit out of character which may be why it was so unsettling. I‘m sure it‘s easy for me to say as an outsider looking in, but that was just my observation. 4mo
Sargar114 @ravenlee I see what you‘re saying as well, considering the order of events, but I‘m seeing the break up more as a symptom of her depression versus the trigger for her attempt. 4mo
Catsandbooks @AmyG I almost bailed as well. I've been struggling with my depression lately and it was very abrupt and took me by surprise. My sister and I have both struggled with self harm and suicidal thoughts. She has been in out-patient programs like Julia was in. This one did not sound very organized or beneficial. But the therapy sounded more helpful to her. As someone who has been in and out of therapy for most of my life it's important ⬇️ 4mo
Catsandbooks To find the right match for a therapist and help that fits you. After trying so many therapists in my life I have finally found one in the last year who has been helping me immensely! While well meaning, poorly organized help can do more harm than good. And without long term and further support, people are more likely to continue having problems. Going to therapy a couple times does not fix anything. 4mo
AmyG @Catsandbooks I agree. I get it, too. Yes, the suicide came out of nowhere and took me by surprise. I am happy to read you have found a therapist that works. Half the battle. (edited) 4mo
Karisa @Catsandbooks 👏👏👏 Well put! And hope you feel better soon. 💗 4mo
ravenlee @Sargar114 I don‘t think it caused it, exactly, and the destruction of her journals was obviously a bigger trigger for Julia than the breakup. I just hate seeing a romantic breakup in YA followed by a suicide attempt, as if they‘re so naturally linked. It‘s a faulty and dangerous link that I wish would get less reinforcement. 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee one of the 20 plus reasons I don‘t like this story for teen girls. 4mo
Catsandbooks @AmyG @Karisa thank you both ❤️ 4mo
Sargar114 @ravenlee @TheBookHippie totally agree. It seems like an important read as it covers good topics, but needs some cleaning up 4mo
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DID YOU OH MY _____! When Julia gets blamed for OLGA‘s things ? Seriously.
What do you think of it all? Her journals!?
Did Ama go too far?

megnews Ama always goes too far! I think Ama was predisposed to think one child was an angel and the other a problem. Now that Olga‘s gone she‘s made her a saint and will never allow anything “bad” to be said about her. 4mo
corireadslife When I was a teenager, my mom read my journals and while she didn‘t rip them up, I can remember how it was a complete breach of privacy and to this day, I still remember how hurtful that was for me. I was so very angry with Ama for the journals. I feel like blaming her for Olgas stuff is one thing but then ruining Julias journals where she finds true joy and escape is absolutely uncalled for. Ugh!! 4mo
AmyG Ama has some serious issues. I agree with @megnews that Ama has made Olga a saint in her mind and in the family history. How can Julia compete with that? 4mo
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vlwelser Ugh. Ama is the worst. She can't even read those journals and she destroys them anyway. 4mo
ravenlee I hated this section. The complete betrayal and malice…how can she hate her own child so much. And Apa helped! I agree with 👆🏼 about Ama turning Olga into a saint. There‘s no danger that Olga can ever disappoint her mother now, so Ama can believe whatever she wants. And Julia will always be a disappointment. 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee Malice is the correct word. 4mo
Karisa @corireadslife That happened to me too when I was around 15. Horrible feeling to have someone read your personal journals. At least like yours the journals weren‘t destroyed (my cassette tapes with “devil” music were another story) but what an invasion! 4mo
Karisa This part reminded me so much of Poet X (E. Acevedo). It‘s like a punch to the gut when someone‘s writing is destroyed. Reading Sister Outsider (Audre Lorde) now too, and she points out how much harder it is to afford writing materials when one is poor. She saw poetry‘s shortened form as more accessible (less space needed—like the thoughts/feelings are concentrated). I‘d never thought about that before… 4mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa Good paper journals are high on the list for teens I‘ve mentored. I try to keep them and pencils too 4mo
rjsthumbelina My heart broke for Julia when she said that some of the poems that Amà had destroyed were ones she had spent years working on. I can't imagine. I feel strongly that kids and teens should be allowed privacy in some spaces, and writing is definitely one of those things. She's trying hard to express herself in a healthy way, and Amà literally goes out of her way to silence her bc she doesn't approve of the words she uses 4mo
rjsthumbelina As far as the lingerie, I was waiting for that to happen. 4mo
DebinHawaii The journals were a step way too far. My heart broke for Julia too. 💔 4mo
Sargar114 Agree with everyone. I was trying to have some sympathy for Ama up to this point as she was grieving as well. However, it was all out the window when she tore up the journals. It was bad enough to read them, but tearing them up especially when she couldn‘t even understand what was written; just spiteful! 4mo
Catsandbooks I absolutely loathe Ama 🤬 I was so furious for destroying her journals. She knew how much it would hurt Julia and she didn't it anyway. 4mo
Karisa @DebinHawaii Yeah, I was trying to cut Ama some slack, but after that move… 😮‍💨 4mo
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megnews I think growing up it was sort of known in school if someone was poor. They may have worn the same few outfits a lot which may not have been washed in between. They may have gotten free lunch and never pack. They may have not participated in extracurriculars that cost 💲. 4mo
corireadslife I agree with @megnews it was kind of just known. 4mo
AmyG I, too, agree with @megnews. Everyone knew. It made one different and kids tend to like to fit in. 4mo
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vlwelser Most people were poor where I grew up but the ones that were extremely poor were singled out for ridicule regardless. I'm glad they have free lunch programs that cover everyone now. At least that's a thing here in Massachusetts. 4mo
ravenlee It can be hard to be poor, but I think in schools at least there‘s a good chance you‘re not alone. For Julia to have to explain to Connor is an entirely different situation. His idea of poor is probably light years from what Julia actually lives, and he can‘t imagine it. Of course, Julia doesn‘t give him the chance to understand, either. 4mo
megnews @vlwelser the federal USDA lunch program standards are if 40% or more of a district is in poverty everyone gets free lunch. Maybe Massachusetts chooses to take up the rest of the tab. 4mo
vlwelser @megnews good to know. I think it's a great program. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews my district is free lunch for everyone. Started during COVID. Huge change. I love it. 4mo
TheBookHippie @vlwelser here too. Thank goodness. 4mo
Karisa @TheBookHippie My district in California has kept free lunch for all since COVID started too. It‘s refreshing. No need to worry if someone forgot lunch and about two-thirds get school lunch (but only about 30% qualify for free lunch). Even before, it was a PIN number to enter for all at school lunch (no one knew if parents had paid online or if it was free). 4mo
Karisa My middle school is mostly middle class families but some families do have less. It shows up in small ways, the availability of supplies is one I can help with. I just make sure to keep some paper in a drawer, extra pencils (the good kind not the ones that constantly break), and other things out on the counter for anyone who needs them. 4mo
rjsthumbelina I agree, everyone knew how much money everyone's families had in school. Especially bc you knew were people got on the bus. For instance, I got picked up by the bus alone in front of my parents' double wide on a foundation. Everyone knew my family didn't have much money. But I will say, my family always made sure to have enough for everything I needed. I was lucky in that way. 4mo
DebinHawaii Yes, it was pretty known in school who had money and who didn‘t, who was in the middle. @Karisa It is great that you do that. 💜 Those small things add up to so much. 4mo
Catsandbooks I agree that most knew who had money and who didn't. I'm really glad to hear that more schools have full free lunches! 4mo
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“So I stopped smoking it real life is scary enough, thank you”. True story. Is Julia growing up/seeing things in a new light ?
Are Lorena and Juanga coping and escaping their lives?
The sledding was the best. They got to be kids. Do you think that part is forgotten too much today?

megnews I do think Julia is growing up. I think Juanga is using it to escape. Not sure about Lorena. I liked the sledding too. It‘s good to be a kid again and relieves the pressure. 4mo
corireadslife The sledding made me so happy and actually smile. It was such a good moment in this story that I think allowed them to truly be just kids. I believe Julia is growing up too fast, in part because her home life appears to be suffocating. I do also think Juanga is using it to escape but I can‘t blame him there. From what I know of Lorena, I‘d say she is escaping too. 4mo
AmyG Sometimes the most simple thing can bring joy to one‘s life. Yes, they got to be kids....something they probably didn‘t get to do much due to their family lives. Made me think....how many children in 5is world don‘t really get to be children. 🙁 4mo
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ravenlee I agree that they‘re escaping in any way they can, but I‘m glad Julia gave it up. She didn‘t enjoy it, it made her feel worse when she already feels miserable, so I couldn‘t see why she did it in the first place. Some of it was “peer pressure” and in that sense she‘s maturing. I find a lot of this hard to relate to, as I never partied at all or smoked, so I don‘t understand why Julia‘s been doing all of it. 4mo
ravenlee I loved the sledding, too! I live in northwest Louisiana. We had a hell of a time with the snowstorm this February. Last time we got snow was seven years ago, and a bunch of college kids went to the dollar store and bought laundry baskets and baking sheets and went sledding on the hill of a bridge off-ramp. Most of them had never seen snow before and had the best time; it was awesome to see it. 4mo
megnews @ravenlee love that story about the college kids sledding. That‘s so great! 😊 4mo
vlwelser The sledding was awesome. I definitely like Lorena. 4mo
rjsthumbelina Yes, they're all trying to escape their own harsh realities. It takes a lot of maturing to realize that something that you thought would help you is only making things scarier, like Julia did. They all just seem like teens trying to make it through. You couldn't pay me enough to be a teenager again 4mo
rjsthumbelina The sledding was a really sweet moment. It was nice to be able to see all 3 of them let go of what typically haunts them 4mo
DebinHawaii Definitely they are using it as escaping. The sledding scene was great. As other have said, it was great to see them joyful & able to be kids for a time. 4mo
Catsandbooks The sledding scene was a nice positive in this otherwise dark section. 4mo
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Grief. It manifests in different ways. Do you think Julia is suffering because it was so tragic, so unexpected or it is because her sister whom she wasn‘t really close with? Which as teens, normal. Is guilt a part here too? Is missing what could be stronger than what was?


megnews I think there‘s more than one reason her grief is so strong. I‘ve experienced a sudden unexpected death and it is definitely different to deal with. I think a lot of her suffering is because her parents aren‘t helping her through the process and even hindering by not allowing her in Olga‘s room and moving on with a happy thing like a quince. I also think it doesn‘t help that she blames herself and her mom compounds that. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews It‘s really difficult for me to read as this is so close to my childhood but I love what you wrote here! 4mo
megnews @TheBookHippie it‘s difficult for me too. My mom is the child of an alcoholic and has refused to ever get any help. It affected her life choices which affected us. She loves us but she is very closed off. And I went through a lot of confusion and depression and probably went on to make my own bad choices but I am trying to do the work to better relationships something my mom refuses. So I‘m probably projecting my feelings on Ama. Easier to be ⬇️ 4mo
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corireadslife I think grief looks different for everyone and that there are multiple reasons for her grief. I completely agree with @megnews that Julia‘s parents aren‘t helping and are even hindering her during the grieving process; almost encouraging her to grieve in ways that are unsafe. (edited) 4mo
megnews ⬆️Mad at a book character! This is why I like to read things like this though. It helps me process. Even more than therapy does. (edited) 4mo
AmyG I think all the things you mentioned contribute to her grief. Yes, Ama hits a nerve with me, too. My mother was very emotionally distant. How did I cope? There are parts of my life I do not remember. We all cope and grieve differently. Julia is still a child and her life breaks my heart. (edited) 4mo
ravenlee Julia‘s definitely grieving the lost opportunity, among other things. Both my grandmothers died within months of each other a few years ago and it hit me pretty hard, despite them both being horrible, abusive people that I hadn‘t had a relationship with for years. But suddenly there was no chance of EVER having a healthy relationship with them (which I always knew wasn‘t going to happen anyway) and it felt tragic. Plus losing all that history… 4mo
ravenlee Olga didn‘t lose history so much as future, if that makes sense. But Julia is dealing with the loss of the possibility of being friends with her sister, plus a whole lot more, and her parents are making everything so much worse for her every single day. Ugh. 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews my sister died- my mom preferred it was me and told me so, it was all my fault. I was 7 my sister was 5. She had my brother right before my sister passed -he is Jesus Christ to her she constantly told us girls we were supposed to be boys. I‘m so sorry for you too. My mom is still verbally emotionally abusive. I see her seldom. People my whole life said how she treated us was fine she had a child die… OY. I was with my grandma a lot. ⬇️ 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews She saved me. My dads mom. 🤍🤍 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee Future is hard I think. Young people is hard to know they didn‘t get to grow up. Children too, when it‘s a baby or even miscarriage. The plans you have in your mind or the opportunity just ends. 4mo
megnews @TheBookHippie thank heavens for grandmothers! I always felt closer to both of mine than to my mom and spent much more time with them. 4mo
megnews @ravenlee losing future makes perfect sense. You grieve the things you‘ll miss because they‘re gone. 4mo
vlwelser It seems like the whole family is depressed possibly even before the tragedy with Olga. The most depressing thing to me is that they don't seem to imagine a bright future for Julia. She's still there and could use some support. 4mo
megnews @vlwelser yes and she‘s such a promising kid. 4mo
rjsthumbelina I think all the things you mentioned are interwoven for Julia. She'll never get to have a close relationship with her sister again. She isn't allowed to grieve her sister the way that she wants to, which causes more animosity between Julia and her parents. Amà is very strict and not very supportive. Julia doesn't seem to feel like anyone truly cares about her. Maybe she sees that the world keeps turning, even without Olga. That's a scary thought 4mo
DebinHawaii I agree with everything said, grief for Olga & what might have been for them as sisters is a big aspect of her grief & depression but the family dynamics, blaming herself & knowing her mother does too, the emotions of being a teenage girl & the fear she won‘t have control & be able to get out & live her dreams all play a role in it. 4mo
Catsandbooks I agree with the thoughts of the group. I think she's grieving what could have been with his sister, time lost, the pressure from her family to be something she's not, and the lack of support. I was much luckier than Julia to have the support of family when my father committed suicide when I was 10. My mom made sure my sister and I were in therapy and was there for us. 4mo
mollyrotondo Loving what everyone said about Julia grieving what could have been. She now doesn‘t have an opportunity to grow close to her sister which can be a tough thing to deal with especially as a kid. Thank you everyone for sharing your personal struggles here. 4mo
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My third Saturday of the month couch dim sum dinner grabbed from the monthly local craft/product fair near my house. The usual suspects are my 3 favorites: radish cakes, shrimp & chive dumplings & taro puffs. It‘s been a challenging week with not a lot of good sleep so after grabbing these & hitting the grocery store, I took a really long nap. Now I am digging into the next section of this book for #sundaybuddyread discussion tomorrow.

TheBookHippie YUMMY one of my favorites ! 4mo
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A section behind in #sundaybuddyread and my book is due today, and there‘s a couple of holds. I‘m really enjoying this, but just in a slump. Gonna try and read the section this week before I return it and try and find it elsewhere for the end. 🤞🤞🤞

TheBookHippie 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻 4mo
Sargar114 @TheBookHippie update: the mister put a hold on it at another library. That‘s true love 😍😍😍. Looks like we‘re library hopping today! 4mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 TEAMWORK!! 4mo
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vlwelser Well, that took a turn. Thanks for the heads up. I haven't started this week's chapters yet. 4mo
vlwelser Are you sure we're reading the same book? Nothing is happening yet... 4mo
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TheBookHippie @vlwelser mentioned in the book. Anytime anything like this is mentioned I believe it‘s important to warn even if it‘s not the main character and/or mentioned by word but by deed. Not sure what part you are at yet. Don‘t want to say more. 4mo
vlwelser I'm caught up (to the stuff above, not totally done yet). It was a little abrupt. I'm officially looking forward to the discussion on Sunday. 4mo
TheBookHippie @vlwelser SO AM I 🤐 4mo
Catsandbooks Yeah this section was definitely hard to read for me. I think I'm going to have to start looking at trigger warnings for all books now cause this one definitely took me by surprise. Unfortunately I'm having a hard time with my depression right now so this section was not helpful for my mental health. Thank you for posting about the triggers though! 4mo
megnews @vlwelser it did feel abrupt. 4mo
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Saw this I find this pretty accurate …

Thanks as always for great discussions, keep talking ..I‘m off to read more as I have a busy week ahead!

robinb Wow…very insightful. 4mo
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Thoughts so far ??? On we go…

Chapter 15-21 next week🤍

AmyG Again, not quite the book for me as I don‘t always enjoy YA. But I am reading and hanging in there. 🤣 4mo
megnews I really like this one. 4mo
vlwelser Ugh. This one isn't really doing it for me. It's a little too YA in my opinion. I thankfully have aged out of the target audience. 4mo
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corireadslife I like it but I also feel like it is dragging on in the wrong places. I hope for more discoveries and progress in the next week! 4mo
rjsthumbelina This last section lost the plot a bit, but I'm hoping it picks up again in the upcoming section. I love all the interesting dynamics between the characters, even if the horrible ways they sometimes treat each other is making me want to tear my hair out at times 4mo
ravenlee I‘m at a meh for now, but there‘s potential. I‘m getting pretty frustrated with Julia and DEFINITELY with her wretched family, but I‘m hoping things pick up this week. 4mo
DebinHawaii Still on the fence a bit, somewhere in “ok to like” but I think the next section & where it goes will make it or break it for me. I do read & enjoy YA sometimes & I always like a glimpse at a culture & life different than mine, but I need some forward movement & answers. 4mo
DanaManiac I‘m interested in seeing what happens but haven‘t decided if I like it yet, lol. My wedding is next Sunday so I don‘t know if I‘ll be able to join in- I‘ll try though 🙈 4mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac OH MY WORD!! Congratulations. How wonderful. 💜 💜 💜 4mo
megnews @ravenlee wretched- perfect word choice! 4mo
megnews Congratulations @DanaManiac ! 4mo
TheBookHippie @vlwelser I would not be a teenager again for a zillion dollars!! 4mo
Catsandbooks I'm in the OK camp as well. Her family just makes me so upset. 4mo
TheBookHippie @Catsandbooks Me too. So horrific! 4mo
Allylu She just so angry at everything. I just want to hug her and let her cry it out. 4mo
RedxoHearts Definitely not one I would have kept reading myself but it's been interesting to discuss 4mo
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Adrienne Rich 🤍 https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/adrienne-rich
Saved her lunch money for books
Be still our hearts

Also Wicker Park- my love

Conner ? Thoughts ?

📸mine from Wicker Park

AmyG Conner was a surprise. I am curious to read about their relationship. 4mo
megnews I loved that she saved her lunch money for books! 4mo
Karisa Yup, love that Julia loves books. I loved Adrienne Rich and Sylvia Plath at her age too. Just found out how Adrienne was actually pronounced last week while listening to audiobook of Sister Outsider 🤯 4mo
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Karisa I liked the Connor thing too. Didn‘t feel 100% necessary but it‘s nice 4mo
vlwelser This Connor thing might redeem the book for me. I just read an interview in Sister Outsider between Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde. Totally intrigued by her now. 4mo
corireadslife I got so excited when Julia saved her money for books! I am also excited for Connor because I hope that it will be someone in her corner who will actually believe her and encourage her to figure out more about Olga rather than doubt her or shut her down. 4mo
rjsthumbelina Julia saving her lunch money to buy books made me appreciate my family all that much more. We never had a lot of money, but they found a way to buy me books and indulge my love of reading. I like Connor as a character. He seems to bring Julia out of her shell, which I think she needs 4mo
ravenlee I‘m torn between Conner being a useful character and helping Julia see her own worth and him being a means to an end (the hacking offer). Is he just a plot device? Because that‘s going to piss me off. If he‘s a real character serving a real purpose I‘m cool. 4mo
TheBookHippie @ravenlee I SO AGREE!!! 4mo
DebinHawaii @ravenlee @TheBookHippie Totally agree about Conner—hoping for the best. And yes, saving your money for books 📚💚 I can totally relate to that even though my parents were great about doing what they could to provide them for me and giving me frequent trips to the library. 4mo
DanaManiac Ah yes @ravenlee I agree! I hate convenient characters that show up just to move the plot along! 4mo
Catsandbooks I like Connor. He seems genuine and to actually care for her when Julia has so few people in her life that do. It actually made me sad that she starved herself just so she could buy books. No child should go hungry. 4mo
RedxoHearts He seems like a nice guy. I think I was mostly just shocked someone entered the picture she liked and was nice to. So far he's been one of the only people she has been friendly with and hasn't disliked. 4mo
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Ama blaming Julia for Olgas death?!
What do you think of her telling Julia this?

AmyG I think they are all so angry and hurt. They are all going through grief in their own ways. But words can hurt deeply. If Ama wants a relationship with Julia, she had better watch what she says...if she is even capable of that. 4mo
megnews @AmyG I‘m not convinced ama wants a relationship with Julia. She wants to change her to be exactly what she wants which is unrealistic. I would not blame Ama for thinking this but I thought it was awful for her to say this to Julia. She could vent to a friend. 4mo
AmyG @megnews I think Ama wants what she had with Olga….from Julia. I am hoping in the end they find their own relationship…that they learn to accept each other for who they are. 4mo
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megnews @AmyG yes, I agree she does want what she had with Olga. (Or thought she had?) 4mo
Karisa @AmyG Exactly… Such a sad dynamic and hurtful form of grief 4mo
vlwelser Such a gross thing to say to a teenager. 4mo
corireadslife I‘m not a fan of Ama blaming Julia at all! I think she is hurt and grieving and doesn‘t know how to handle it. But everyone is hurt and blaming Julia is crossing the line. I think there is something deeper going on with Ama though and hope we gain more perspective because we only really know what Julia has told us about her this far and it‘s not good. 4mo
rjsthumbelina Ama is hurting, and Julia's hateful words to her aunt seemed to be Ama's last straw. Again, it doesn't make Ama's behavior okay, just like it didn't make Julia's own behavior okay. What a terrible thing to say to your child. If Ama doesn't change her actions, she won't have a relationship left with a daughter 4mo
ravenlee Ama reminds me of the people who write to advice columns wailing about how their grown children won‘t have anything to do with them. You start out feeling bad for the writer, but as they unwittingly spell out the years of emotional abuse they‘ve unleashed on their children it becomes clear that the kids are acting out of self-preservation. Run, Julia, run far and fast. 4mo
DebinHawaii So inappropriate and hurtful for her to say that to Julia.😡 4mo
DanaManiac So, so horrible. I still remember some hurtful things my mom said to me when she was dying. You can‘t take some things back. I know she‘s a character in a book, but I can‘t believe she said that!! 4mo
Catsandbooks I don't care if you're grieving, you don't say that to your child. Ama just hates her cause she's still alive and Olga isn't. As soon as I hit 18 I would leave and never come back. 4mo
Allylu So hurtful. She can‘t see beyond her own pain. 4mo
RedxoHearts I add this to the reasons I can understand some kids grow up to never speak to their parents again. I can't even imagine being so angry and hurtful that you tell your remaining child it was her fault. That's not a statement you can ever take back and it is not ok. I don't care how much you are grieving and hurt. She is still your child too. 4mo
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The Quincenara and Julia telling her aunt off. Appropriate?

AmyG Julia needs to learn diplomacy and how to keep her mouth shut sometimes. I guess it comes with age? 🤣 4mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG ummmm I‘m not good at this so 🤷🏻‍♀️😅🤣 4mo
AmyG @TheBookHippie Ha...neither is my son. But I am a Libra, so.....I need everyone to “be happy and balanced”. 😂 4mo
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megnews Not appropriate but a person can only take so much. I used to be much more like this but have found ways to speak up to try to get people to listen to the point rather than the aggravation. Still trying to teach my 24 year old this. 4mo
Karisa Yeah, that was both a cringey and relatable scene. Can‘t say I felt too badly for her aunt. She‘s an adult and has more responsibility to watch her words too 4mo
megnews @Karisa agreed! 4mo
vlwelser All of these people are so rude and then they seem surprised when someone is rude back and then they rat on each other. Totally toxic. 4mo
corireadslife I‘m not surprised with the situation but I am really tired of everyone bringing Olga up to Julia and not expecting any sort of response. I do think Julia was a little over the top but still not surprised she snapped. 4mo
TheBookHippie @corireadslife It‘s my life in a nutshell. I remember someone asking me “Which one are you? I always forget which one died…” 4mo
TheBookHippie @megnews Depends on my mood, the person and the situation. 😂 I‘m more than twice your age 😅 4mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa Me either. 4mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG Gemini …waterfall mouth 😂 4mo
Karisa @vlwelser Exactly! They can dish it but they can‘t take it! 😅 4mo
Karisa @TheBookHippie What???! No! That‘s horrible and sad, horribly sad 4mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa Yes. Horrific. My mother also blamed me for my sisters death. Wished she lived and I had died. So I have no love loss for Ama -just exasperating. 4mo
megnews @vlwelser @Karisa agreed on the dishing it out but can‘t take it! (edited) 4mo
Karisa @TheBookHippie Wow, that does make this storyline hit a nerve then. Must making harder to properly grieve a sister when that dynamic is in place too 4mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa I got to grieve when I left home. At 17. or when my grandma had me. She was my hero. 4mo
rjsthumbelina I felt like that aunt was not very careful with her words when talking to Julia, and it seemed like Julia had had enough of people talking to her about Olga in that way. It doesn't excuse Julia's behavior, IMO. She was blatantly rude, and the situation didn't call for it. As far as the aunt telling her parents, I think most adult family would do that, thinking that she should be punished for her words. Seems like Julia needed someone to hurt bc 4mo
rjsthumbelina ⬆️ she was hurting, so she lashed out. 4mo
ravenlee Agree with most of 👆🏼, it may be understandable if not excusable. And yes, the whole family is freaking toxic. No wonder Julia‘s a mess, surrounded by all that. Ugh. 4mo
DebinHawaii @AmyG Fellow Libra ♎️ & I get the keeping people balanced thing. It‘s understandable that Julia hit the breaking point & the aunt was rude, but it was wrong for her to have lashed out like that in that setting. But that family—YIKES! 😱 @TheBookHippie I am so glad you had your grandma. 💜💜💜 4mo
Catsandbooks @TheBookHippie wow! I am so incredibly sorry you had to deal with that! For julia I think she just couldn't take it anymore and it wasn't really at the specific aunt but just the last straw. And honestly the family deserves it. 4mo
TheBookHippie @Catsandbooks 🤍 I think they deserved it too. 4mo
DanaManiac I think Julia wasn‘t totally in the wrong. Like @vlwelser said, you can‘t be rude because you‘re talking to a child and then expect them to always be respectful just because you‘re older. I‘ve had to learn how to put my elders in their place, respectfully 😂 4mo
RedxoHearts lol It probably wasn't something she should do but hey sometimes it just jumps out after they keep pushing. I'd get tired of nosey aunts/uncles/cousins being ridiculous and tacky as well. It probably was the wrong time to do it though. But hey what better way to say I'm a grown woman than to tell everyone off 😂 4mo
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When Julia gets answers do you think she‘ll be settled?

Olga any clues yet ?

What‘s hidden in Olga‘s room?!

Does Ama actually know the truth ?

AmyG I am not a big fan of this book but what keeps me reading is wanting to know about Olga and seeing what happens to Julia. 4mo
megnews I still think Olga and her best friend (can‘t recall name) were in a relationship. I don‘t think Ama knows. I do think Julia will settle when she knows though I think she‘ll always wish he and her sister were closer, close enough for her to trust Julia with her secrets. 4mo
Karisa I was wanting more clues in this section! Olga‘s mystery is propelling the story. Annoying girl at the party clearly said mystery man so I‘m rethinking the Olga‘s best friend was her lesbian lover idea, but still a small possibility 4mo
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megnews @karisa I wanted more clues in this section as well. Hopefully this coming week 🤞 4mo
vlwelser It's possible that I'm losing interest in this. If it weren't for the open casket my latest guess would be that she ran away from this awful toxic family and the parents are covering it up. 4mo
corireadslife I am getting a little frustrated that everyone is doubting Julia or shutting her out when she asks about Olga. To me it is dragging on a little too long without anymore clues but I hope for more clues soon! 4mo
rjsthumbelina I thought this week that the plot had started to go off in tooany other directions. I don't like a one-dimensional story much, but this is starting to feel like it's doing too much. Hopefully the plot can steer back around on this week's section. I'm sticking with my theory that Olga had a bf and Angie knew about it, but that 4mo
rjsthumbelina ⬆️ Angie was in love with Olga 4mo
TheBookHippie @rjsthumbelina I agree. I am hoping it steers back around to the plotline. 4mo
TheBookHippie @corireadslife Clues please!!!! I so agree. 4mo
TheBookHippie @vlwelser I‘m trying to figure out why it‘s so highly rated for teens. Hoping this weeks reading gives me a clue. 4mo
ravenlee I don‘t know that Julia will ever feel settled, no matter what she finds out. Short of Olga having left a detailed manifesto of every detail and thought of her life, Julia‘s always going to have more questions than answers. 4mo
ravenlee I don‘t think Ama knows anything. Whether she truly believes Olga was a perfect angel or suspects something and is afraid to find out the truth…thar I‘m not sure. 4mo
DebinHawaii I‘m still thinking it was the mystery guy at the funeral she was in a relationship with & Angie had unreturned feelings for her but who knows at this point. Whoever it was was someone she felt her parents would not have approved of, so kept it secret. I agree with everyone that I hope it gets back to this part of the plot. I‘m still not loving the book & it wasn‘t a hardship to set it down for another week but I am hoping it picks up. 4mo
Catsandbooks I think Ama had no clue. Hoping we get Olga developments soon! 4mo
DanaManiac From personal experience, I think getting answers will just lead to having even more questions! It‘s weird to feel like you may not have known someone you thought you knew well… 4mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac I think so too. It‘s just endless questioning .. 4mo
Allylu Yes, Julia needs a break in finding things out about Olga, then the story will take off again, right? 4mo
RedxoHearts I don't think the answers will give her the peace she thinks it will but probably something she's going to pursue anyway. I think it will just open more questions and make it feel like she didn't know anything about Olga anyway. 4mo
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Lorena ? Friend or Foe?

Typical teen girl friend relationship or no?

AmyG I am not too sure about her but I would like to believe more of a friend. 4mo
megnews I think Lorena and Julia used to be better friends and it‘s a case of growing apart with different interests. I do think we need people to point things out to us and a friend should do that but it‘s also in the way it‘s done which teens likely haven‘t perfected yet. 4mo
Karisa It sounds so typical to me. Like @megnews said might be growing apart a bit and alternately clinging to each other the next moment. 4mo
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vlwelser I think Julia is the one that's a bit toxic in this situation. Lorena just seems pretty average. 4mo
corireadslife Sometimes I like Lorena and other times I don‘t. I agree with @megnews about them being better friends in the past and now growing apart. 4mo
megnews @vlwelser I agree with that. It seems Julia doesn‘t want things to ever change which isn‘t possible. 4mo
rjsthumbelina @vlwelser I agree. I think Lorena tries to push Julia out of her comfort zone. Julia has a couple of times shown herself to not be a great friend to Lorena. 4mo
ravenlee I think @vlwelser is right - Lorena may not be the best, healthiest friend for Julia (because she‘s caught up in her own life), but she seems to have a better handle on things than Julia does. And @megnews is right that we need friends to tell us the truth even when it‘s uncomfortable. If we can‘t do that then it‘s not a true friendship. 4mo
DebinHawaii I think it seems pretty typical to me in terms of teenage friendships. Both have had moments of not being nice or a good friend to each other. (edited) 4mo
Catsandbooks Julia and Lorena definitely push each other, but I don't think it's necessarily bad. 4mo
DanaManiac I think Lorena is a bit edgy but Julia is very uptight for someone who hates how uptight her family is. I think they might just be growing apart. 4mo
RedxoHearts I think most teens as they grow up have a friend like that. Maybe not a friendship that should last longer but that they are trying to hold together. They aren't very much alike maybe growing up has just done that to them. 4mo
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