Friday, March 25, 2011

What Can(t) Wait, by Ashley Hope Perez

by Ashley Hope Perez
Carolrhoda LAB
Review copy from publisher.
"Another day finished, gracias a Dios."

Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. An ordinary life - marrying a neighborhood guy, working, having babies - ought to be good enough for her.

Marisa hears something else from her calc teacher. She should study harder, ace the AP test, and get into engineering school in Austin. Some days, it all seems possible. On others, she's not even sure what she wants.

When her life at home becomes unbearable, Marise seeks comfort elsewhere - and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants - other than a life where she doesn't end each day thanking God it's over.
We are seeing some great debut novels this year, and this one certainly ranks right up there. We picked it up to read during our lunch hour, and ended up sneaking time to read all afternoon until we had finished it. It wasn't next in line to get reviewed, but we can't wait to get it into our teens' hands!

There are so many situations in this book that we see lived out here every day - the cultural clashes, pregnant teens, and mostly the difficulty of breaking a family cycle. It can seem so easy to outsiders, who don't understand why young men and women keep making the 'wrong' choices. Perez shows us that things aren't as easy or as black and white as they seem. No preaching here, an authentic voice teens will appreciate, and a realistic but satisfying ending. We give it a

5 out of 5.

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