Monday, March 6, 2017

Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

Lilliam Rivera. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Rating: Decent

Goodreads Summary: 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.


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.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Though there were many things I liked about it, my dislikes overshadowed my likes. Let's start with what I did enjoy.

I was captivated by the cover. In a belligerent, defensive stance wearing a contemplative expression, Margot stands outside of a fenced building, which appears to be a school, indicating an education gained beyond the safe confines of a classroom. Also, I liked that Moises' bad boy days occurred prior to the start of the novel, although his past is a source of contention among Margot's family. The reformed bad boy was more appealing to me than the usual "bad-boy-not-really-bad-just-misunderstood" trope. The social consciousness conversations were a delight, as well as, my introduction to Julia de Burgos. Most importantly, I loved the inclusion of gentrification in the storylinean issue many urban cities are currently experiencingand how it affects residents in those areas. 

My main complaint with the novel is its lacking quality. There was no character development whatsoever. Margot was extremely self-righteous and annoyed me. Plus, the emphasis on her curves was irritating. I know there was at least five, if not more, references regarding the curviness of her body. Margot's one-sided crush on Nick was blah, but the chemistry between her and Moises redeemed the romance angle. Camille, Serena, and Jasmine were all one-dimensional characters. Jasmine's constant anger was unnecessary especially since there was no real explanation behind it. All of the characters lacked growth, but some characters like Elizabeth, Moises, and Junior were underdeveloped. Though Margot did enter a state of self-awareness, the coming-of-age moment was dissatisfying. There's this big build up and then it falls flat. I expected Margot to have a more conscious awakening. The resolution was superficial because I felt that she still didn't get it.  Again, it goes back to the absence of character growth. 

What are your thoughts about the book? Did you love it, hate it, or was it just okay?

Disclosure: I was given an eARC from Simon & Schuster and Jellybooks in exchange for reading statistics.

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