Thursday, March 3, 2011

Review: What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publishing Date: March 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780761361558
Pages: 240pgs
My Rating: 3 stars
Summary from GoodReads:
Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.

At school, it's another story. Marisa's calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn't end each day thanking God it's over.

What Can't Wait—the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Pérez—tells the story of one girl's survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future.

My Review:
I received this book from NetGalley for review and I read this book fairly quickly; it was done in 2 days. That being said, I had mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed the plot of the book which is about a senior in high school trying to keep her familial cultural identity as a Mexican but also her identity as a high school senior in America. At times these two things do not fit cohesively. There is a strong pressure to stay in town and take care of her family rather than move forward, do well in school, graduate and move on to college. Marisa is struggling through this and also has to deal with some pretty serious personal issues regarding a boy. Marisa's fate seems almost doomed from the beginning but in the end she turns it around and tells the people she is closest with how she truely feels. The problem I had with this book is that I felt that some of the plot was glossed over. The author could have really gone a bit deeper and made the story a little more heart-touching. I also became very frustrated with not only Marisa's father but also her mother and sister. I felt that at times they were relying on Marisa for everything without thinking of what they could do to help themselves. They always relied on the fact that this is the way it is and that's that. I am a true believer that you are not predestined by your situation. You can always make different choices and you shouldn't use your situation as an excuse for not changing or trying. Overall I give this book 3 out of 5. As I said I read it quickly and was intrigued by the characters and the plot but I thought that the author could have gone a bit deeper with the story and emotions of the characters.


  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to review What Can't Wait! It sounds like the attitudes of some of the characters frustrated you, and I can relate! Many of the characters and situations in WCW are based on my experiences teaching in Houston, TX. The lack of reflection and dependency that annoyed you were very much a part of the challenges some of my students had to face at home and in their community.

    So... these IMperfect people with flawed outlooks are in the book for the same reason that cussing, cockroaches, and conflict are: because they're part of the character's reality.

    Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to read my review. I agree with you that these attitudes that frustrated me are part of a reality that I'm sure many face. I was not just frustrated with the characters for this but I get frstrated with people like this as well. That being said, who am I to judge. It is difficult to navigate through life trying to please other people but at the same time pleasing yourself. I can only imagine what teaching high school would be like in Texas. I teach elementary school here in Canada and the cultures are so different. I wish you luck with your writing career and thanks again for posting a comment on my review.