Fans of Jane the Virgin will find much to love about this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Veronica Chambers, who with humor and humanity explores issues of identity and belonging in a world that is ever-changing.
She is the envy of every teenage girl in Mexico City. Her mother is a glamorous telenovela actress. Her father is the go-to voice-over talent for blockbuster films. Hers is a world of private planes, chauffeurs, paparazzi and gossip columnists. Meet Camilla del Valle—Cammi to those who know her best.
When Cammi’s mom gets cast in an American television show and the family moves to LA, things change, and quickly. Her mom’s first role is playing a not-so-glamorous maid in a sitcom. Her dad tries to find work but dreams about returning to Mexico. And at the posh, private Polestar Academy, Cammi’s new friends assume she’s a scholarship kid, the daughter of a domestic.
At first Cammi thinks playing along with the stereotypes will be her way of teaching her new friends a lesson. But the more she lies, the more she wonders: Is she only fooling herself?
Since this is being compared to Jane the Virgin, if I was on the cast I’d be ashamed of the comparison.
My daughters descend from a culture of Half Irish (me) and Half Mexican (their father) so when I came across this book I was hoping it’d be something I could add to our home library. I’m always on the lookout for novels that feature DECENT characters that represent either culture.
I had a real problem with this one though and don’t feel comfortable having this in my house because I wouldn’t want my daughters thinking I condone how half their gene pool is being portrayed.
On a positive side, it was nice to see a main character who wasn’t being labeled as a housekeeper, gardener, illegal stealing work from Americans, etc. Instead you’re getting to experience a story from the eyes of someone who is part of the upper class in Mexico and how that differs from being in America where you’re often measured not by your bank account but by your skin color. Another positive was a central theme of accepting who you are and embracing that regardless of the opinions of others.
The negatives, for me, outweighed those few positives. I felt that the Mexican culture was turned into stereotypes to the point of borderline racism when the main character decided to ‘act’ the part of a poor Mexican immigrant so that people don’t find out the truth of her background.
By the end I felt like I had betrayed my daughters by spending any time reading this particularly in light of what is occurring in America towards the Mexican community.
Thank you to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for allowing me to review this book.
*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com