Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Can(t) Wait

Perez, Ashley Hope. 2011. WHAT CAN(T) WAIT. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda. ISBN 9780761361558. [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]


Marissa lives in Houston, Texas, the youngest daughter of hard-working immigrant parents who work at low-paying jobs. Her brother is more interested in cars and “hanging” even though he graduated from high school; her sister got pregnant and dropped out of school. Now Marisa has a chance to fulfill her dream of becoming an engineer-- scholarships and acceptance at two universities makes this possible. But her parents have never appreciated her hard work in school and straight A report cards and though she has a chance to become the person she wants to be, babysitting for her niece, cooking meals, working an almost fulltime job to help with family finances are all converging to thwart her dreams.

Marisa is the kind of teenager that every teacher dreams of reaching and helping. Her battles with her family are gentle battles which she eventually wins. This is the type of book that belongs in every middle school and high school library in schools with large immigrant populations. Latino readers can so identify with the family dynamics and expectations, but the writing is not critical, only truthful.


This is the perfect book to recommend to Latina girls who may be fighting the same battles. Use this selection for a girls book group as a starter for a discussion on personal goals and dreams vs. family pressures and expectations.


Canales, Viola. THE TEQUILA WORM. ISBN 9780375840890

Alegria, Malin. ESTRELLA’S QUINCENARA. ISBN 9780689878107

By Janet Hilbun

1 comment:

Ashley Hope PĂ©rez said...

Thank you, Janet. What an honor to see WHAT CAN'T WAIT here. My most recent novel, THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY, is a bit grittier because of the circumstances of the characters, but it is also ultimately hopeful. I hope you and your wonderful librarian crew will check it out... I am the world's biggest librarian groupie. Thank you, too, for the important work you are doing for "my" kids.