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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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Thanks so much for this trio of #book2book books, @Catsandbooks ! I really appreciate it and I‘m so excited to dive in! Fitz is excited too. 😋

Thanks to @AllDebooks for organizing (and my books are going to go out this week!).

Catsandbooks You're welcome! Say hi to Fitz for me!! 🧡🐈 2h
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Just finished this one! I really enjoyed it, and found it relatable on so many levels. Being a first generation Mexican-American from Los Angeles, I‘ve experienced similar expectations as a daughter from a very traditional & catholic family. I read some reviews on goodreads saying it was slightly racist, but I didn‘t really feel that was true. I also read it in Spanish, so it may have not been as obvious vs the English version. Really liked Julia.

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Started this one yesterday. I‘m loving the imagery and nostalgia I‘m getting from reading it so far.


“Be careful. Please. The border… The fucking border”. I feel wildness spreading through me. “It‘s nothing but a giant wound, a big gash between the two countries. Why does it have to be like that? I don‘t understand. It‘s just some random, stupid line. How can anyone else tell people where they can and can‘t go?” -280

kspenmoll Such a good book! 3mo
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ • Read before seeing the play adaptation at Seattle Rep

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Today's pick is I Am Not You Perfect Mexican Daughter. I enjoy reading books I can relate to. This one had a few things that hit close to home, not a lot but a few.


kspenmoll I so enjoyed this book! 14mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks On my shelf!! 14mo
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Mexican Daughter reads like a grittier and darker Judy Blume coming-of-age novel. When her perfect sister dies tragically, Julia sets out to uncover the secret life she‘d been living. On the way, she faces her own identity and path away from her parent‘s expectations. Though it may try to fit in too much (rape, suicide, immigration), the clash between immigrant parents and first generation American children over cultural values felt authentic. 4⭐️

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This was a good one, there was just a lot happening. The main character really goes through a lot of self discovery/awareness. It easily could‘ve been several separate smaller novels

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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). 2y
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Thanks @LA_Mead for the great #poutinepenpals. #thanksgivingswap

I am looking forward to reading these!


StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Love those socks. 🧡📚🍁🦃 2y
LeahBergen Hi, Sharon! Did your #HauntedHollowSwap arrive safely? My tracking says it was delivered on Thursday. 🤞🤞 2y
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! 2y
LeahBergen Oh, perfect! Yes, I saw you were away but now that I know your husband was home on “package duty”… all is good! 😆 2y
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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. 2y
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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! 💗 2y
fredthemoose Totally agree! 2y
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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! 2y
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. 2y
ravenlee Good discussions! Thanks for letting me drop in on the group. 2y
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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. 🤗 2y
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. 2y
Sargar114 @DebinHawaii I loved that aspect as well. That part of the story really felt genuine to me. Discussion was wonderful as usual! 2y
Catsandbooks Thanks for the discussion! 2y
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. 2y
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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) 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @AmyG more depth fewer characters fewer plot lines going off into the weeds… 2y
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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. 2y
vlwelser Too many plot lines for sure. This needed more focus. There was no reason to include so much random stuff. 2y
readwithcori Agree agree agree with fewer plot lines and more depth 2y
TheBookHippie @vlwelser it needed a good edit! 2y
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 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
fredthemoose Totally agree with @ravenlee about this reading like a first draft and that it should be better than it is! 2y
TheBookHippie @fredthemoose needed a HUGE EDIT! 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @fredthemoose it was a hot mess!!! 2y
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. 2y
Catsandbooks Author tried to do too much and got lost. Don't know how it's rated so highly and was an award finalist. 2y
TheBookHippie @Catsandbooks I really am perplexed on that. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo that is the best description it isn‘t tight, it‘s allll over the place. 2y
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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. 🤣 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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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. 2y
readwithcori Agree completely with @megnews 2y
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 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
Catsandbooks I'm glad she left. She needs it! I wouldn't recommend it 2y
mollyrotondo She definitely needed to leave so good choice. This was not a favorite of mine. I would not recommend this one. 2y
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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? 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @megnews @AmyG 🤯🤯 I just don‘t get it. 2y
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vlwelser This was also a weird addition to the story. And it comes up more than once. 2y
readwithcori 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 😂 2y
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. 2y
readwithcori @TheBookHippie ugh the struggle is real! glad I‘m not alone 💞 2y
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. 2y
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… 2y
ravenlee They‘re both cats, Raven is a black DSH and Henry‘s a Siamese! 2y
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! 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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?” 🤬 2y
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 😳 2y
TheBookHippie @ravenlee I tell people I‘ve only had sex twice therefore two kids 😂😂😂 2y
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? 2y
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii Because every child takes care of their parent ? What a dumb thing to say and reason 😡 2y
TheBookHippie @ravenlee 😂😂😂👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 gahhhh people. 2y
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 2y
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. 2y
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) 2y
ravenlee @Sargar114 I love it! Mind your own business, people. 2y
Sargar114 @AmyG exactly!!! 😂🤣😂🤣 2y
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 ⬇️ 2y
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. 2y
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.🤬 2y
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo UGHHH people. Seriously none of their business. I‘m so glad you found someone. How wonderful. 2y
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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. 2y
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. 2y
vlwelser Endorphins are magical. Everyone should have a release like this. 2y
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readwithcori Love movement for everyone and love that movement can take so many different shapes and forms! 2y
Sargar114 Agree that movement of some kind is good for the body and soul. 2y
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! 2y
DebinHawaii I think it is good for everyone to have a physical outlet especially if we can decide what that outlet is. 2y
Catsandbooks I'm glad she felt better. I think joyful movement is good, but only if they're able. 2y
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. 2y
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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. 2y
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. 2y
vlwelser I wasn't sure where they were going with this. Lorena doesn't even give him a chance. 2y
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TheBookHippie @vlwelser 🤷🏻‍♀️ me either. It‘s a whole other topic and muddies the waters so to speak. 2y
readwithcori @vlwelser Yup! Confused over here too 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2y
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. 2y
Karisa I saw it as a protective stance from Lorena. Not explored too much but that is what happens with friends‘ first impressions sometimes 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2y
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). 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii I think you‘re right. How could he know? 2y
TheBookHippie @Karisa good point! 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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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. 2y
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. 2y
AmyG @megnews Yep…I was just going to say that social media hs made this all worse. Much worse than my parents generation. (edited) 2y
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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) 2y
readwithcori 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. 2y
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 2y
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!) 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
Catsandbooks I hope she is able to tell them one day but right now it's probably best if they work on their relationship. 2y
Sargar114 @Karisa it‘s funny, I suppose Litsy is technically social media I never really think of it that way 😂🤣😂🤣 2y
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. 2y
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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. 2y
megnews Agree with @AmyG 2y
readwithcori Agree for sure with @AmyG 2y
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vlwelser Lorena might be the best part of this book. She definitely has a solid head on her shoulders. 2y
TheBookHippie @vlwelser She seemed more grown and wise on the teenage level at least. More reality centered, more streetwise. 2y
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! 2y
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 that‘s me and I made it. I did nursing for 20 years then switched to education 🙃 2y
Karisa 💗💗💗 2y
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. 2y
DebinHawaii I like Lorena and think she was and hopefully will be a good friend to Julia in the future. Hope she does well. 2y
Catsandbooks @ravenlee I agree! Author tried to do too much. Happy with how Lorena turned out 2y
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. 2y
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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. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @megnews I DID!!!!! I thought she felt hopeless and just ended it. I also detest infidelity with everything in me. 2y
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readwithcori 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. 2y
vlwelser Am I the only one that no longer cared about the Olga storyline by the time she got to this? 2y
TheBookHippie @vlwelser I‘m thinking no. I didn‘t care either 😂 2y
readwithcori @vlwelser lol yeah I was kind of over it at this point. 2y
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! 2y
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… 2y
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 2y
megnews @vlwelser it seemed inconsequential by the end as @karisa mentions 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
ravenlee But, like @vlwelser and @TheBookHippie I just didn‘t care anymore. 2y
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?! 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2y
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. 2y
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 🙂 2y
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii maybe so. The fact that he‘s now divorced without her seemed like just dessert to me. 😬 2y
Catsandbooks It just seemed unnecessary. I was over all of it! 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo I think we were allll over it… 😝 2y
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Prayer group- OY
I just cannot🤦🏻‍♀️
Discuss amongst each other …

AmyG I‘m out. 🤣 2y
megnews As a Christian, I understand prayer group. As a Christian, I understand love. I was glad Julia spoke up. 2y
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. 2y
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TheBookHippie @AmyG Tough one for me admittedly. 2y
AmyG @TheBookHippie Oh, I know. 😘 2y
readwithcori 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. 2y
vlwelser They lost me with the father that thought being gay was wrong. 2y
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 2y
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. . . 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @ravenlee 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 2y
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! 2y
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. 2y
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🤍 2y
ravenlee @Catsandbooks that‘s so horrible! I‘m sorry people were so awful - especially people whose religion is supposed to be about love. 2y
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 ⬇️ 2y
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. 2y
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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) 2y
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 2y
readwithcori I agree completely with @AmyG here. 2y
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vlwelser I think this was a rite of passage that young people need to go through. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
DebinHawaii I think he was good for her at the time but as @AmyG said more a first boyfriend than anything lasting. 2y
Catsandbooks Definitely a first boyfriend and nothing beyond that. College will be good for them both. 2y
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. 2y
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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. 2y
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 ⬇️ 2y
megnews ⬆️but not necessarily clearly enough and all teens can‘t do that. 2y
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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. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2y
megnews @TheBookHippie I‘d love a follow up on Julia‘s experiences in NYC 2y
AmyG Yes. I saw it more as controlling. Though control and verbal abuse come hand in hand many times. 2y
TheBookHippie @megnews YES! I think that would help the narrative. 2y
TheBookHippie @AmyG that was my thought. 2y
readwithcori 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. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @corireadslife I do understand what you‘re saying about the cultural differences. I‘m not sure that makes it okay. 2y
readwithcori @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. 2y
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 ⬇️ 2y
TheBookHippie @corireadslife ⬆️approach it that way. Very healthy. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 college yes. High School library for 13/14-17/18 no. 2y
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 2y
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? 2y
readwithcori @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 ⬇️ 2y
TheBookHippie @Karisa let‘s HOPE 🤞🏻 2y
readwithcori ⬆️ 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) 2y
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. 2y
readwithcori @TheBookHippie agree so much! 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @ravenlee I very much agree. 2y
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 ⬇️ 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @ravenlee my mother and mother in law in a nut shell just no. My grandma was my saving grace. 2y
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 ⬇️ 2y
megnews ⬆️that. Both my grandmothers were my saving grace. And my paternal grandmother practically raised me til she died when I was ten. (edited) 2y
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. 2y
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! ⬇️ 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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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) 2y
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 ⬇️ 2y
megnews ⬆️personality and reaction to this incident to me. 2y
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megnews Also let me just say those statistics suck. 2y
TheBookHippie @megnews Awful statistics. 2y
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. 2y
AmyG @TheBookHippie I agree about Olga and Julia. Siblings can be completely opposite each other. 2y
readwithcori 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 ⬇️ 2y
readwithcori ⬆️ @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. 2y
TheBookHippie @corireadslife goes with the saying hurt people hurt people. Alma I agree in I don‘t think she healed much. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @vlwelser I so agree. 2y
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. 2y
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 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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? 2y
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 2y
TheBookHippie @ravenlee I took it that way. 2y
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). 2y
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. 2y
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?! 2y
megnews @ravenlee YES IT IS!!!! 2y
Catsandbooks The things immigrants face are absolutely horrific! Doesn't excuse Ama for treating Julia the way she does. 2y
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 ⬇️ 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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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. 2y
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 2y
AmyG @megnews Yes....boundaries indeed! 2y
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readwithcori 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. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @megnews BOUNDARIES! And distance. 2y
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. 2y
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 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @ravenlee 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 2y
megnews @ravenlee absolutely!!! 2y
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. 2y
DebinHawaii And yes, love this quote! 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 2y
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii me too. Relevant to so many. 2y
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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! 2y
Allylu @EadieB I love Readathons! 2y
EadieB @Allylu Me too! 2y
Cinfhen Glad this covered a few challenges 💕💕💕 2y
TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! 2y
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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) 2y
readwithcori @wanderinglynn lacked balance. Yes that is a great way to state it! 2y
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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!! 2y
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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! 2y
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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!! 2y
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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!!!!! 2y
IndoorDame Congratulations!🎉🍾 The first bingo is always so exciting! 2y
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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. 2y
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. 2y
vlwelser And Happy Birthday to the kiddo. 2y
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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. 2y
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 😅 2y
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.🤞🏼 2y
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. 2y
Catsandbooks Happy Birthday to your boy! 🎉💕 Ready for the end of this book. 2y
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 you and me both! Jeepers May throw book yet. 2y
TheBookHippie @Catsandbooks meee too and thanks! 2y
TheBookHippie @Karisa I‘m afraid to read 😫 we had a good day. 2y
Sargar114 Lol @TheBookHippie definitely a candidate!!! 2y
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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. 2y
AmyG I don‘t care for Belen either. We shall see. I want to read about the rest of her stay in Mexico. 2y
readwithcori 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. 2y
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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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
Catsandbooks This book is all over the place. Like others said the narcos are probably why the parents left. 2y
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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. 2y
readwithcori 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. 2y
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) 2y
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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. 2y
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. 2y
megnews @ravenlee I agree it may be best for Julia to get away from them but it could have gone so differently. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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So trite!
Your thoughts on this new information?

megnews Ugh. 2y
readwithcori 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. 2y
AmyG Olga is human. Ama has painted her as a saint. Julia suffers. It‘s all so sad. 2y
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megnews @corireadslife @AmyG I agree wholeheartedly with both your comments! 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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? 2y
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. 2y
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) 2y
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… 2y
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 2y
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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. 2y
readwithcori I loved this moment. I think they truly care and Julia gets caught up in their behaviors that she doesn‘t agree with. 2y
AmyG I think they care, too. But again, they are teens and perhaps don‘t always show they care. 2y
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vlwelser I thought this was adorable. Lorena and Juanga are great friends. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
Catsandbooks This was a sweet moment! Glad to see she has people that care about her! 2y
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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. 2y
readwithcori 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. 2y
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) 2y
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vlwelser I'm with @corireadslife this was too abrupt. 2y
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. 2y
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? 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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? 2y
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. 2y
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 2y
ravenlee @Karisa exactly! Poorly organized group therapy can be counterproductive. 2y
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 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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 ⬇️ 2y
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. 2y
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) 2y
Karisa @Catsandbooks 👏👏👏 Well put! And hope you feel better soon. 💗 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @ravenlee one of the 20 plus reasons I don‘t like this story for teen girls. 2y
Catsandbooks @AmyG @Karisa thank you both ❤️ 2y
Sargar114 @ravenlee @TheBookHippie totally agree. It seems like an important read as it covers good topics, but needs some cleaning up 2y
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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. 2y
readwithcori 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!! 2y
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? 2y
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vlwelser Ugh. Ama is the worst. She can't even read those journals and she destroys them anyway. 2y
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. 2y
TheBookHippie @ravenlee Malice is the correct word. 2y
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! 2y
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… 2y
TheBookHippie @Karisa Good paper journals are high on the list for teens I‘ve mentored. I try to keep them and pencils too 2y
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 2y
rjsthumbelina As far as the lingerie, I was waiting for that to happen. 2y
DebinHawaii The journals were a step way too far. My heart broke for Julia too. 💔 2y
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! 2y
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. 2y
Karisa @DebinHawaii Yeah, I was trying to cut Ama some slack, but after that move… 😮‍💨 2y
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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 💲. 2y
readwithcori I agree with @megnews it was kind of just known. 2y
AmyG I, too, agree with @megnews. Everyone knew. It made one different and kids tend to like to fit in. 2y
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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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
vlwelser @megnews good to know. I think it's a great program. 2y
TheBookHippie @megnews my district is free lunch for everyone. Started during COVID. Huge change. I love it. 2y
TheBookHippie @vlwelser here too. Thank goodness. 2y
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). 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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! 2y
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