This was a powerful story about the abuse of women and the fight for freedom and for your own body, but it wasn’t as gripping as I’d expected. I really wanted to love this book, but sadly I ended up feeling slightly let down by it. It had so much potential, but it never fully met my expectations.
The story follows Argentinian teenager Camila, who lives a double life. At home, she’s the careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father, but on the soccer field, she’s “La Furia”, a rising soccer star.
I immediately rooted for Camila and her strong will, her dreams of a life as an American soccer professional, her determination and her passion. But sadly, what could have been a powerful, poignant story about standing up for yourself and going for your dreams, very quickly turned into a teenage romance cliché. The love interest, international soccer star Diego, felt like such a shallow character, just another good looking boy who miraculously falls in love with the ugly duckling, and the romance didn’t feel believable at all. The characters had been friends for a long time before the book started, so their romance was developed more like a matter-of-fact thing than based on feelings that would make the readers invested. The problem in addition to that, was that not even the friendship itself felt believable, and the way it all was narrated made this book felt like it targeted an even younger audience than YA. Camila was in a way very wise, strong and realistic, but at the same time she felt closer to thirteen than eighteen when it came to her feelings for Diego.
This story had so much potential and so many difficult and important themes, like domestic abuse, female oppression and sexism, but the romance part pulled it down. The parts I enjoyed the most were the descriptions of Argentina and life in Rosario. The author did an amazing job weaving the political atmosphere into the every-day life descriptions and the characters’ struggles with patriarchy and toxic masculinity, teen pregnancies and the constant risk of getting abused if staying out too late or taking the wrong way home at night. I also really appreciated the ending and the way it wrapped the story up.
If it hadn’t been for the main focus on the romance, it could have been such an amazing, gripping and empowering book. Now, sadly, it was only a half-decent three star read for me.
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Yamile Saied Méndez
All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alwyn Hamilton Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Mackenzi Lee Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally M. Tasia Nancy Garden Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Yamile Saied Méndez