Review:The Education Of Margot Sanchez


margotThe Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: February 21st 2017

Format: eGalley

Genre: YA Contemporary

Page Count: 304 pgs

Rating: ★★★★ (4.5 STARS)

I’d like to thank Simon & Schuster for approving me to receive an eGalley of The Education Of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

goodreads-synopsis-2

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

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Ok Guys & Gals, the time has come for me to review this awesome book & I cannot tell you how excited I am to do so! the Goodreads synopsis more than covers the plot so I won’t repeat what’s already up above, instead i’ll touch on some of my fave plot points. The Education Of Margot Sanchez is first & foremost a Own Voices book about a Puerto-Rican family living in the Bronx, New York. Margot’s dad is the owner of two Grocery Stores from which he provides for his wife, son, and daughter. Margot attends a prep school in Manhattan along with the children of wealthy families. Her brother Junior works with their father in the grocery in hopes to one day take over the family business. We start off with Margot getting caught stealing her fathers credit card to order clothes online. Her punishment is to work off the debt in one of the grocery stores throughout the summer. This does not bode well for Margot who has a social life to maintain back in the city if she ever wants to “fit in” with the wealthy kids in her school. We follow Margot’s daily routine as she fulfills her duties in the grocery store by stocking shelves, working in the deli with the meat, and basically handling all of the grunt work. Her dad has every intention of teaching her a lesson but also utilizing her knowledge of social platforms to possibly give the store a new edge. The neighborhood is experiencing Gentrification and the family business is feeling the side effects. Situated next to a college and a new and upcoming food market, the family business can either benefit or be hurt by the change in demographics in their neighborhood. Margot however, could NOT be bothered with these things. Her thoughts are occupied by that guy back in her prep school who may or may not be interested in her and the “friends” she’s made by appearing to be someone she’s not. Margot is pretty much living a double life, something she has learned to do in one way or another by her own family. When Margot meets a guy while working in the grocery store, who is the complete opposite of the guy she’s had her eyes on in prep school…everything she worked so hard to create starts to fall apart. Moises represents everything her family does not want for her & yet he seems so right. This story is about Margot & how certain events lead to her growing up & learning some hard lessons from those she loves most.

characters-bannerI’ll start off with saying what I’ve seen many readers say about Margot…she’s not the nicest, she’s self-absorbed, selfish, deceitful, and ultimately an unlikeable protagonist. However, I understood this to be the whole point in educating her. Margot hasn’t had the best examples at home. Yes, her dad does pay for her to attend a pricey prep school in Manhattan but her values are all screwed up. Her parents marriage is not all that it seems and her brother is going through substance abuse issues. The problem is, there is no communication whatsoever between any of these family members. All is solved by simply not talking about it. On the surface this family appears to have it all but underneath they are hurting and divided. As a Latina woman, my childhood/family set up looked a lot like Margot’s. I experienced first hand what it’s like to look towards Papi (dad) as the bread winner and more than anything wanting to please him with success in school. Both Margot & Junior (son) want to succeed but get lost while trying to please a man who himself was failing. Mami (mom) was pretty much a silent figure in the background but you could feel her pain through her compulsion to keep everything extremely clean & tidy all day every day. I took this as her way of keeping control over something in her life when underneath it was all a giant mess. This family touched me because I was able to relate to their experiences, culture, and pain. This after all is the beauty of reading books by Own voice authors. I still think about this family & wonder whether these fictional characters are ok now…

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The Education Of Margot Sanchez was a light read that I flew through in just under two days. I enjoyed reading from the perspective of a Puerto-Rican family since it truly is rare to come across. This family felt familiar and relatable making this read one that I devoured all the while making comparisons to my own experiences growing up Puerto-Rican. I was pleasantly surprised to see the topic of gentrification play a role in this neighborhood since it’s one that i’ve personally seen have an affect on local mom & pop stores. There are other more serious topics covered in this book however, I feel that mentioning them is very spoilery since when I came across them I was taken aback and was moved by them. Although I know that at it’s core the story is about Margot and her family, I would’ve enjoyed seeing her take on a more hands on approach with the issues & concerns affecting her community as a symptom of gentrification. I do however appreciate how Lilliam Rivera explored the morals and values of this family in a very realistic sense. These characters were deeply flawed and were all weathering internal battles that seeped into their relationships with one another. Sometimes parents don’t always have it right themselves. A lot of times the kids get caught up in the unspoken. Such is the story of Margot & her brother Junior.

about-the-author-banner

14358410Originally from the Bronx, NYC, Lilliam Rivera is a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and a 2015 Clarion graduate. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from PEN Center USA, Elizabeth George Foundation, and A Room of Her Own Foundation. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Latina, among others. She hosts the Los Angeles-based radio show Literary Soundtrack on Radio Sombra and lives in Los Angeles with her family. Visit her at LilliamRivera.com.

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Author: LairOfBooks

"Between The Pages Of A Book Is A Lovely Place To Be"-Anonymous

35 thoughts on “Review:The Education Of Margot Sanchez”

  1. Great review for this book Lilly. I’ve had The Education of Margot Sanchez on my to-read list ever since I saw another review for it a few weeks/months back and honestly your review has just made me more desperate to get my hands on it. It sounds like a brilliant story, and I’m glad the characters were well developed and sympathetic to you as well. I feel they’re important aspects to have in contemporary books. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Beth! I’ve been carefully selecting my contemporary YA so if it has diversity, i’m more likely to pick it up 😉 the reading experience when you can relate to the characters, experiences, and community is pretty unique and special:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I may try and do the same now you mention it. I haven’t picked up any contemporary books yet this year but the first one I have on my to-read list is More Happy Than Not which counts as a diverse read I think (please correct me if I’m wrong on that count)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, More Happy Than Not is a diverse read & such a good one at that. i will however say that his strongest book is History Is All You Left Me. Both great reads in my opinion. I have been more selective on Netgalley & Edelweiss, looking into authors as well before requesting. Only want books I know I really want to get to asap lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Whoo, good to hear. I haven’t picked up any diverse books yet January so I really need to get started February. And I’ll probably end up going into History Is All You Left Me straight after More Happy Than Not so I’ll be able to decide afterwards what one I liked best! 🙂

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    1. Thank you Jackie! you’ve just reminded me that I have to go back to Naz’s review since he read it before I did & I told him i’d return lol. She is certainly surly and overall self-absorbed but It was intentional. The whole point of the book is based on getting her to open up her eyes to what’s going on around her. I do wish they’d gone a bit deeper int the topic of gentrification but still appreciated that it was a topic addressed because it’s prevalent in the outer boroughs of New York at the moment. Hope you enjoy it when you get around to it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Danielle! <3! It was pretty awesome seeing myself in this character in many aspects which gave me a deeper appreciation for this book. I'm hoping to see more from Lilliam Rivera, she def has a distinct voice we don't see much of in YA. I agree, as a parent I get it wrong a lot of the time…they just aren't old enough to pick up on it lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This one has been on my TBR for a bit now because I keep hearing fantastic things about it. It’s definitely another one I will have to get my hands on this year and read. It seems like an incredible and important read. Great review as always, Lilly! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay, we gave the book the same score!! 🙂 I have also seen what some reviewers have said about Margot, but to me the whole point of the book is her education and personal growth. Like, we need that character arc to make an interesting plot line. *rolls eyes* anyway, I loved Margot and her family. Omg, their family drama was craaazzy x) The last 50 pages had me on the edge of my seat. There was just so much dirty laundry out on display, but I’m glad it was revealed because that family seriously needed to talk about their issues and they would never have done it if all that drama hadn’t blown up. Loved this book a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! We sure did give it the same score lol 😃 I read some reviews & raised an eyebrow cuz the whole point flew over some readers heads I guess 🙄 anyways, imagine not being able to sleep at 2am & deciding to read Margot for just a smidge…I picked up the book at the height of the drama and dirty laundry smh. Didn’t go back to sleep til I read the last page 😂 LOVED this book, Margot & her family. It all had to come out in order for this family to start anew. On Twitter Lilliam tweeted that she submitted her 2nd book & I legit slammed my hand down on my glass desk with a loud YASSSSSS!!! 🤣

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  4. I can’t wait to read this book and relate to it. Then discuss and laugh with you about all the similarities of our families. I have a good feeling about this one! Awesome review my friend, you had me sucked in with each sentence =)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Somehow I missed this review!

    I obviously first noticed this book after seeing Margot in all her fierceness on the cover. I want to say that Naz reviewed this one and really enjoyed it too? I *think*. I’m so happy you were able to relate to this book as a Puerto-Rican woman! Lovely review as always Lilly!

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