Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

August 3, 2017 Diversity 4, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam RiveraThe Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on February 21, 2017
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
Goodreads
five-stars
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

Diversity: 4 – This Is Our World

Racial-Ethnic: 5 (damn near everyone in the book is Latinx)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 2 (Margot’s brother has a drug problem)
Intersectionality: 4 (much of the book is about Margot’s experiences specifically as a Puerto Rican girl in a very sexist, patriarchal family)

Ughhhhh, do I have to review this? I’m just a white chick, you should go listen to some Latinx–especially Puerto Rican, seeing as that’s where Margot’s family is from–reviewers who will have a much more worthwhile point of view. But I kinda got review copies of The Education of Margot Sanchez twice over, so I guess it would be polite to review it instead of just sending in a bunch of links to Latinx reviewers’ posts and saying “what they said” of all of them. Anyway, good book, 10/10 (or 5/5, as the case may be).

Margot’s narrative voice is so vivid and lifelike that it almost makes me sick with envy. She’s a girl made pretty much entirely of rough edges and lists for every possible thing in the world. Our experiences in life are very different, but our shared quirk of list-making for everything made me love her even more than I already did for her complex, memorable characterization.

Her relationship with her older brother Junior reminded me a great deal of mine with my older brother too: pretty terrible, all things considered. (Mine is a hardcore Trump supporter who tried to stab me with a spear in the aftermath of the election. Junior is kinda at the same level of awful for his own reasons.)  Even as I acknowledged that some of her experiences are things I will never understand because of my ethnicity, I felt like Margot and this book in general Got Me.

Margot’s characterization doesn’t come at the expense of the supporting characters at all. In fact, the side characters are just as vividly written and more than a little important to Margot’s story. I’ll typically forget about the secondaries shortly after I finish a book, but a couple of weeks after turning the book’s last page, I still remember Margot’s estranged artist friend Elizabeth, co-worker and friend Jasmine, and family well.

Another thing I love: the way it’s clear who Jasmine’s secret guy is and who was stealing money from the supermarket. Normally, figuring out such twists ahead of time it irritating, but it’s actually an important part of Margot’s characterization. To readers, it is obvious what’s going on around her, but it demonstrates just how short-sighted Margot is about the people around her and what’s going on in their lives. Probably one of the best-written character flaws I’ve seen in a while too!

Oh, you’re still here? Go buy and read The Education of Margot Sanchez and listen to what marginalized reviewers have to say about it instead of wishing for more from me.

Summer 17 Bingo 12 Education of Margot Sanchez

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