Title: They Could Have Named Her Anything
Author: Stephanie Jimenez
Publisher: Little A
Publish Date: August 1, 2019
Genre: YA – Contemporary
Goodreads Ratings: Me 2.0 / Community 3.21
Racism, class, and betrayal collide in this poignant debut novel about restoring the broken bonds of family and friendship.
Every morning, seventeen-year-old Maria Anís Rosario takes the subway an hour from her boisterous and close-knit family in Queens to her private high school on the Upper East Side, where she struggles to fit in as one of the only Latina students—until Rocky welcomes her into this new life. White, rebellious, and ignored by her wealthy parents, Rocky uses her money toward one goal: to get away with anything. To Maria, it’s a dazzling privilege.
As a bond develops between these unlikely friends, neither can see what they share most—jealousy and the desire for each other’s lives. But crackling under the surface of their seemingly supportive alliance, the girls begin to commit little betrayals as they strive to get closer to their ideals regardless of the consequences.
Told from the perspectives of Maria, Rocky, and their fathers, They Could Have Named Her Anything explores the heartfelt expectation of what it means to live up to the name you’ve been given and the more rewarding discovery of what really matters.
Maria and Rocky form an unlikely friendship. Maria is a scholarship student at a private school, where Rocky is one of the more privileged students. Both Maria and Rocky have struggles in their lives.
Told mostly from Maria’s point of view, but also includes POVs from Rocky, Miguel, and Charlie. Maria’s family is struggling financially, she is in an unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend, and she suffers from depression. Rocky’s parents are going through a divorce, and she feels lonely and neglected. Miguel is Maria’s father, who has recently lost his job. Charlie is Rocky’s father, who is attracted to Maria.
I’m not sure what the point of this books is. It covers a lot, but doesn’t go deep into anything. There is a lot of inappropriate behavior, and it all seems to be ignored or normalized. Add in an abrupt ending that doesn’t show much growth in the characters, and this novel leaves a lot to be desired.
A contemporary young adult novel. Flawed characters and lots of drama.
This was my Amazon First Reads pick in July 2019.
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