Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers

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Review: The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers
The Go Between
Veronica Chambers
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: May 9th, 2017
by Delacorte Press

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Fans of Jane the Virgin will find much to love about this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Veronica Chambers, who with humor and humanity explores issues of identity and belonging in a world that is ever-changing.

She is the envy of every teenage girl in Mexico City. Her mother is a glamorous telenovela actress. Her father is the go-to voice-over talent for blockbuster films. Hers is a world of private planes, chauffeurs, paparazzi and gossip columnists. Meet Camilla del Valle Cammi to those who know her best.

When Cammi s mom gets cast in an American television show and the family moves to LA, things change, and quickly. Her mom s first role is playing a not-so-glamorous maid in a sitcom. Her dad tries to find work but dreams about returning to Mexico. And at the posh, private Polestar Academy, Cammi s new friends assume she s a scholarship kid, the daughter of a domestic.

At first Cammi thinks playing along with the stereotypes will be her way of teaching her new friends a lesson. But the more she lies, the more she wonders: Is she only fooling herself?
-A copy was provided by Delacorte Press for review-

The Go-Between is part fluff and part social commentary. It is this incredible feel good book about a girl has to leave her home country behind to move to America because her mom has landed a roll in American TV. What The Go-Between really tries to break down intersectionality and explore various privileged and oppressed identities.

How does Cammi’s life change when she moves from Mexico City to LA? Her family still has enormous socio-economic privilege but her life does change. The way her classmates interact with her changes and the way she is perceived and stereotyped by her classmates completely changed. Without even getting the chance to introduce herself, her new rich, white classmates craft an identity for her based on racist stereotypes.

And yet even though for the first time in her life Cammi has to deal with oppression and racism, she still have socio-economic privileges she has always taken for advantage and continues to take advantage of when her family moves to LA. She plays along with the poor, scholarship kid that works multiple jobs identity that has been crafted for her while undermining her classmates who are actually poor and have to have a job.

Her transition to LA is more than just her becoming aware of what its like to be Latinx in America, its about her realizing the enormous socio-economic privilege she does have and balancing her various identities.

The Go-Between is a thought-provoking book and yet I feel like the writing falls just a little short for me. The book is quick and easy to read, and maybe it is because I read an arc and not a finished copy, but I feel like the book needs so much more polishing. There are ragged sentences and some minor plot arcs that aren’t quite wrapped up within the book. I usually don’t even notice editing/writing things (hell, I am probably not going to be proof reading this post because I am exhausted all the time and need sleep) but it really stood out to me with this book and I think it did dampen the reading experience for me. But do remember that I read an ARC and for so many books, the ARC and finished copy are worlds apart so who knows what changes were made.

Overall, I do think The Go-Between is a book worth taking a chance on (especially since it is #own voices) and one that many people will enjoy.

 

3.5 Stars
3.5 Hot Espressos

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2 Responses to “Review: The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers”

  1. Lisa @ NatureImmerse

    I found this novel about immigration to be very interesting. The teenager in this family moves from Mexico to America when her mother, a famous Mexican TV star, gets a role on an American show.She finds herself thrown into a private school midterm, where students assume she is a poor Mexican-American girl who got into the school on a scholarshop. Rather than telling the students that her mother is a rich and famous actress, she plays the part that the other students “assigned” her. Ms.Chambers, herself an immigrant, explores moving to a new home, and whether or not an immigrant can, or should reinvent themselves in their new home. I can relate to this book in one very small way. When stationed in Korea and Thailand I was obviously neither Thai nor Korean, as I was a caucasion american. I had to learn customs, try new foods, and I always carried a book that translated phrases from from English into Korean or Thai. But, of course, I always had the shelter of an American base and knew that in a year and a half I’d be going home. But I do get the idea of standing out in a crowd. I read this book in one sitting.It was that well done.

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