Rating = ★★★★
I think I was considering giving this book 3 stars for a second because I for some reason had it in my mind that this book would be about rape culture. But it’s not. But that’s my fault for assuming that for no freaking reason, so I shouldn’t take that out on the books rating!
This was a very very VERY good book. The writing is impeccable; funny, emotional, relatable, intelligent, and sharp. The reason the writing stands out is being so on point is largely due to the main character, Gabi. Her voice is the perfect conduit for Isabel Quintero’s writing. Gabi is blunt, fierce, hilarious, thoughtful, smart as all hell. She has her insecurities, but she also puts on a good front of confidence that is quite inspirational. She takes absolutely NO bullshit. I love her so much, and wish that I was more like her when I was in high school!
It was definitely a smart idea for this story to be told in journal format – Gabi’s voice is such a strong one that it needed to come directly from her and not be filtered through a “prose” sort of narrative format. This makes it as personal as possible, which is absolutely ideal because we get real deep in this book… deeper than I expected!
I love the culture identity aspect of this book. Probably more than anything else. Gabi was proud of being Mexican for sure. But she did not allow herself to be defined by stereotypes, or by the expectations of her Mexican peers & family. She was constantly questioning the hypocrisy and misogyny of the attitudes of those expecting things of her; namely her mother, aunt, and teachers. She is unabashedly herself; nearly straight-a student who can’t cook, but loves art and her friends.
So much happens in this book, which I was definitely not expecting. But Gabi and her family and 2 best friends go through pretty much everything imaginable. It definitely was a shocker.
All of the side characters are individual and wonderful. They all are dealing with their own demons, and have personalities and arcs of their own. And each one has a different relationship to Gabi and brings out something different in her. Also there is a lot of representation in this book!
I blew through this book, read it in a matter of hours! It was perfect for a readathon because it’s short, the lettering on the pages is very spread out, and it’s journal style reads quickly. Also random side note: I think that Gabi and Dante from “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” would be absolutely best friends. I need that crossover to happen. And I need someone to read both of those 2 books to confirm this for me.
If you like “Ari and Dante,” “Perks of Being A Wallflower,” or “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” then you should give this book a go! I would highly recommend this book!