Top Ten Tuesday – Books that Little Mexican Teen Me Needed

The Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly challenge post previously hosted by The Broke and Bookish and now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. You can follow along for each weekly post here. This week’s post is all about the books that exist NOW but work so great for younger Sara, books that I wish I had had as a younger teen. I could probably write about a TON of books, if I’m being honest, but I’ve actually chosen to write about THREE books, because they are something that I didn’t have as a young teen and really, truly wish that I did. I think these books would have helped me so much in my own identity with race because, as a biracial girl, I’ve struggled with that my entire life. Here we go…

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sanchez

You can read my full spoiler free review here.

I read really fast. I never stop to highlight quotes or put little post it tabs into books. I don’t have time for that because I’m busting through the novel so I can find out what happens. This book? Has tabs galore because the moment that I started reading it, the moment that I felt SEEN. I’m only half Mexican but its the culture I feel closest with because I spent most of my life around my dad’s family, not my mom’s – my dad’s family all lives in the small, 3 mile by 3 mile, suburb while my mom’s family lives all over the place. But even still, I’ve never fit in. I’m weird, I like to read, I never played sports, I don’t speak Spanish and I just have NEVER fit in and I felt like Julia captured exactly how I felt growing up. I also appreciated so much that Erika delves into mental illness and the struggle of dealing with that as a teen, especially as Latina girl. I really would have LOVED having this book as a teenager, hands down. It would have been so perfect.

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

You can read my full, spoiler free review here.

This is another story of a Latina girl who doesn’t feel like she quite fits in and I felt SO seen by it. I remember opening the book and the first bit, I was like, laughing and shaking my head because it just felt so much like my own journal when I was a teenager and so much of my own experience, dealing with old school Mexican values. My dad CAN be old school but I’ve spent majority of my childhood, teen years and even most of my adult years (so far) living with my super Mexican nana, who is definitely old school – you should have seen what happened when she found my birth control in the bathroom drawer haha. I loved this book – I loved all the food, the poetry, the running. I even connected a lot with the poetry and I am NOT a big poetry fan – I just struggle to connect with it – but I felt so connected with Gabi in this novel that I really felt everything she felt, no matter how she expressed it. This is another book that I just would have loved to have as a teenager. There were just no Latina main characters and I am sad that teen Sara missed out on the characters that are coming out now.

Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka 

You can read my full, spoiler free review here.

I always read Austin and Emily’s books – ever since I met them and got my hands on an ARC of the first book, I was hooked – and they’re such nice and lovely people, I can’t help but support them. I knew what this book was about but I had no idea that Juniper would reach into my heart and yank on it and go, LOOK, ITS YOU! She’s mixed race, she’s the oldest in a huge family and she has this huge desire to be OUT and god, I felt so seen. I’ve dealt a lot with coming to terms of being biracial and I’ve had to work through a LOT of resentment from when I was a teen, with constantly feeling responsible for my five younger siblings and even my parents at times. I was SO angry as a teen, even more so than a normal teen, I think, because I felt constantly like I had to think of others before myself and I felt like I could never be selfish and I hated it. I felt like every decision I made – what job I got, what college I went to, who I dated – it all hung on my family because it had to be best for everyone. I think reading this book as a teen would have helped me deal with those feelings a lot. I think it would have made me feel seen and validated but also would have reminded that my family is so important to me. I just loved this book, not just because it was a Wibbroka book, but because Juniper felt so familiar to me.



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