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 her social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
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.
Buy it – Amazon
This book was my reintroduction into the land of YA.
And…reintroduce it did.
Quite different from what I used to read back in the day, the story was diverse in several aspects. From the first page I was thrust into a pretty unfamiliar, but recognizable somehow, bronx neighborhood. As someone who hasn’t set foot, looked into or even passed over New York, (my only exposure was through my good friend Jessie and Desus & Mero) The Education of Margot Sanchez (TEoMS) was a nice, genuine and authentic introduction to that world.
Descriptions of the setting and street by street depictions of the bronx were most enjoyable for me. It helped me get over the lackluster main character, and appreciate the scents, smells and images of New York. Gentrification, and the impact it has on black and brown communities was a huge part of the story. At first…I was irritated. Living in the Bay Area, gentrification is a word I hear and see occurring daily. Fiction, for me, is a form of escapism. I don’t like to read about issues that we have to deal with on the daily.
Then I realized something…
These stories are for teens. Teens who may not have an idea what gentrification was will learn, and have a starting place for research. Teens who are in the midst of their communities being gentrified will relate. Teens who aren’t, will learn.
That’s what young adult fiction is for, Teens. Teens. Teens. Sometimes. I do feel like adults attempt to take over the genre, but remember. It’s for teens.
When I was younger, YA fiction taught me about different backgrounds and stories of others. Its a large part of why I am the person I am today.
I…didn’t like her and I could not relate to her. Everything that happened to her…I didn’t care. She could have walked off the top of a building, and my first thought would have been, “Wow. Maybe she should have worn another pair of shoes.”
The feelings she expressed regarding her relationship with Moises, I could imagine and relate. But her need to assimilate and become the white girls at her school?
There were maybe…20 white kids in my class. My entire class. 20 our of 400 students, and maybe 60 out of the 1,200 fully enrolled. And we actually made fun of the private schools around us.
Hmm. Much like the people in Margot’s neighborhood made fun of her school. Not necessarily out of jealousy, but because of the attitudes of the teens that went there. Many of them tended to act as if they knew they were better than us, and would do better and be more successful.
I didn’t forgive Margot for stealing from her father. I couldn’t get over it, and through every scene, it was in the back of my mind. Not only did she steal from her father, she never, in my opinion, regretted her actions. That took longer than it should have. She never felt bad for what she did until she stole AGAIN.
Everything her parents “forced” on her, was warranted. I didn’t even think it was odd she worked an entire summer at her family’s business. Isn’t that a thing? Working for free if your parents have a business? But again, I had to remind myself. She is a teen, and in that moment, she may not have been thinking clearly. But then…I think of those teens I know that have their heads on straight. Those teens that would never make a mistake like this, and never even consider stealing from their parents livelihood.
Her parents were horrible. They’re the reason she walked around with a haughty attitude. They’re the reason she considered herself better than those who worked at her father’s grocery store.
Three Stars. While I Never truly got over Margot’s attitude? I enjoyed the setting, the side characters, and the dialogue.
Steam Level- slight romance, but not adult romance level.