Julia’s older sister was the “perfect” Mexican daughter. That’s because, unlike 15-year-old Julia, Olga wore modest clothes, spent evenings with her parents and didn’t have grand ambitions that involved going away to college and leaving her family behind. But after a tragic accident leads to Olga’s death, Julia is left alone with her family. In Olga’s absence, Julia’s parents are quick to find fault with just about everything she does, and the teen struggles to juggle their expectations with her own grief and mental health needs. Author Erica L. Sánchez drew from her own adolescence as the ambitious child of immigrant parents to create the character of Julia, a whip-smart, tempestuous teen who is quick to declare that she dislikes “most people and most things.” Her authentic voice made the book, published in 2017, an instant hit with readers and a finalist for the National Book Award. It has already found a place in high school classrooms across the country, and is now being adapted for film by America Ferrera. —Shay Maunz

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