Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

 Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.

At school, it's another story. Marisa's calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn't end each day thanking God it's over.
(from Goodreads)

What Can't Wait is a thoughtful debut novel by Ashley Hope Perez. More so than any book I've read recently, What Can't Wait addresses the burden of familial expectations and the pursuit for Marisa's (the main character) own desires - education and independence. I liked how the family was an integral part of the story and didn't exist just to create conflict with Marisa. They help to shape her character and give more insight into why she does what she does.

I really loved getting to know Marisa. She was loyal to her family, especially to her niece, Anita. As she tried to be a good daughter, sister, aunt, and girlfriend, I could relate to the pressure that she was under to be all things to everyone while still trying to do her best to get into college. She wanted to help everyone that she could, as much as she could, but sometimes she assumed too much responsibility and not because she had to, but because she thought she had to.She didn't want to be the martyr of the family, far from it. But she didn't think there was any alternative which is understandable based on her relationships with her mother and father.

As the demands of her family began to increase, her commitment to school falters and her dreams of going to the college of her choice seems out of reach. After a frightening incident, Marisa withdraws even further and loses sight of who she is and who she may become. It is the journey back to finding what is important to her (and not anyone else) that makes Marisa's story so worthwhile. I loved reading every word of it.

What Can't Wait is the debut novel of Ashley Hope Perez and has a publication date of March 1, 2011 (but Ashley says it's available now!). I requested this novel for review from the author, received it via Net Galley, and this review is based on the Advance Reading Copy.


  1. Ooh a interesting bio. Great review :)

  2. i love the cover of this books o much..

    your is the first review i have read of this and it sounds a lot like a book i'd enjoy to read.

    hope you're having a good week!

    x Nomes

  3. Not my usual genre, but a must read. Thanks for reviewing this. I'd never would of heard of it otherwise.

  4. Thanks so much for this great review! I love it when I feel that a reader has "gotten" my writing, and you certainly have. FYI, the official release date is March 1, but you can actually get the book already! So happy reading...

  5. Loved your thoughtful and insightful review of this book. :)
    It definitely made me want to read it.


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