I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Finalist, National Book Awards 2017 for Young People's Literature

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez book cover
ISBN 9781524700485
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Erika Sánchez author photo, credit Robyn Lindemann
Erika L. Sánchez

Erika L. Sánchez is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She was the sex and love advice columnist for Cosmopolitan for Latinas for three years, and her writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Salon, and the Paris Review.  Her debut collection of poetry, Lessons on Expulsion, was published by Graywolf in 2017. More about this author >

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Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

Judges Citation

Part mystery, part love story, part inner quest. In I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, the vibrant teen protagonist struggles to prove who she is not, and in that journey, discovers who she is: stronger, braver, more worthy of loving and living than she ever imagined. Bold new voice Erika L. Sánchez carries us through an amazing exploration of family, grief, and culture, reminding us that we are all flawed, and it is those flaws that make us priceless.