The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera is a powerful coming of age story that has a little bit of everything. With complex characters, interesting family dynamics, cultural diversity, and a storyline that everyone can relate to in some way, it’s a book that everyone should have everyone taking note. It also has a great premise!
Margot always feels like an outsider amongst her friends at the elite, mostly white prep school she attends. So when she realizes that a new wardrobe is just what she needs to truly be accepted by her friends, stealing her parents’ credit card is just a necessary evil. In fact, in her mind, the problem doesn’t begin until after she gets caught. That’s when her mom and dad decide to make her pay off the debt she’s racked up by working over the summer in her father’s family-owned grocery store. This is a real issue because working over the summer means making herself even more of an outcast among her school friends. Plus, it means working with a bunch of locals who think she thinks she’s too good to associate with them. As the summer progresses, Margot connects more with her Latina roots, her local community, and her family. She’ll learn about all the different types of relationships–including romantic ones. And she’ll also become very keenly aware of the fact that she doesn’t know as much about the way the world works as she thought she did.
I absolutely adore this book, so let me give you my top 4 reasons to read it ASAP! As a bonus, the extended excerpt is available until August 14.
Margot is a character that pretty much everyone can relate to. She’s at a time and place in her life where she thinks she has it all figured out. She knows what guy she’s meant to be with. She knows that the most important thing is being accepted by her school friends. She knows she’s too good to associate with certain people. She knows all this…until she realizes that she doesn’t know any of that at all. Watching Margot come into herself and transform into a person who views the world in a completely different way is an amazing thing to experience. That’s not to say that it isn’t also devastating at times.
Moises is one of Margot’s love interests and my goodness is he swoon-worthy. There’s something compelling about a guy is so passionate in everything he does. Moises is a social activist who sincerely cares about the community and it’s people. He’s also incredibly respectful and thoughtful as a person. Despite everything he’s seen and been through, he’s a hopeful person who expects the best out and most out of people.
3. The Culture
Everyone has different experiences growing up, and it’s undeniable that someone’s cultural background and geographical location play a huge part in how they see the world. One of the great things about this novel is how both the Puerto Rican culture of Margot’s family and the culture of the South Bronx as a neighborhood seep into the details of the novel. They’re present in the way the characters interact, the language they choose, the mannerisms they display, and in the food they eat. This book is a great way to see the nuances of what it means to grow up in the Latinx community of the South Bronx.
4. The Writing
Lilliam Rivera truly has a way with words. Her ability to create complex characters and put them in such realistic situations is remarkable. She sucks you in and makes you think you’re experiencing everything along with Margot.
5. The Characters
I guarantee you’ll find yourself wishing the characters are real, for one reason or another. Some are so remarkably wonderful you’ll wish they were real so they could be a part of your life. Others are so overwhelmingly despicable that you’ll wish they were real so you could scream at them.