Reviews

They Could Have Named Her Anything, by Stephanie Jimenez

neztoad's review against another edition

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2.0

Really didn't like this. All the characters were bitchy and honestly just got on my nerves, wouldn't reccomend it.

sadiereadthat's review against another edition

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4.0

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

This book is about a high school girl from a lower income family, attending a high income private high school. She feels out of place, and ends up becoming involved with a family that has means much higher than she is accustomed. As you can imagine, she doesn't navigate perfectly.

hfrimmer's review against another edition

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5.0

When Maria Rosario begins commuting to a private high school on the upper east side of Manhattan, she is befriended by Rocky, a girl who doesn’t think twice about paying for Maria’s meals and even buys her a plane ticket. Maria is enamored with her new, wealthy friend, but she’s also worried Rocky will look down on because she lives in Queens. She doesn’t want to have to explain to Rocky why the hot water in the bathroom always turns cold or why they don’t have cable TV. Meanwhile, Rocky is equally jealous of Maria’s loving, functional family. The way Rocky sees it, Maria is loved and needed, while her own parents’ marital troubles prevent them from paying attention to their children. As the two girls become closer, their families get tangled together in messy and complicated ways. The structure of the novel is fascinating and works perfectly, the perspective shifting even within chapters from Maria to Rocky to each of their fathers. My favorite passage from the book is Maria’s thoughts about her home borough.

“Sometimes, when Maria walked down Queens Boulevard, she felt as if she were in front of an ocean. Twelve lanes wide and spanning far into the horizon, it provoked a similar sense of awe. In those rare moments when she had it to herself, when the sun had gone down and even the cars were sporadic, fleeting like flies, Maria was overcome with emotion. She felt so deeply her full humanity then. Some people had backyards, other people mountaintops, but Maria had Queens Boulevard to help her appreciate the ample beauty of existence.”

An insightful coming of age story centering on Maria, this vibrant debut offers so much more—a cautionary tale of the haves and have nots, an examination of wealth and whether that truly brings happiness, a dissection of loneliness and jealousy, and so much more. Stephanie Jimenez is an exciting new writer to watch.

sunforsavannah's review

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dark sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

parkerwkelly1's review against another edition

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1.0

This book was incredibly bad. I pushed through because I had literally nothing else to do when reading this, and it was a slog. The main character is not super likeable to begin with, and she decides to drop all of her tolerable friends in exchange for the popular girl characters. She exhibits roughly zero growth as a person during the book (and honestly ends worse than she started). Additionally, the plot is super boring and very little happens. This was probably one of the worst books I have read ever.

newbatteri's review against another edition

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5.0

From my editor’s letter:

What’s in a name? For seventeen-year-old Maria Anís Rosario, her name is a reminder of a woman struggling to live up to expectations, to a life bifurcated. There’s the Maria with a soft r to her white classmate Rocky, at her private high school on the Upper East Side where Maria is one of the few Latinas in a sea of flat-ironed hair and effortless wealth. Then there’s the accented María to her boyfriend, Andres, and at home a world away in Queens, in a cramped but homey apartment with her lively family. How does she reconcile both parts when Rocky opens her up to a whole new life she previously didn’t have access to?

Meanwhile, Maria and Rocky’s fathers are each making their own series of calculations for the cost of their family’s happiness—Maria’s father, Miguel, sacrificing his happiness for the sake of appearing strong to his children after he loses his job; Rocky’s father, Charlie, choosing hedonism as his marriage crumbles from within. These four protagonists are flawed yet hopeful, and they leap off the page with heartfelt expectations and skewed realities, each questioning what it means to live up to the roles you’ve been given.

Poetically and truthfully grappling with racial tension, class privilege, female friendship, and familial expectations, Stephanie Jimenez’s They Could Have Named Her Anything is a propulsive debut novel from a fresh new voice.

allthebookpages's review against another edition

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1.0

DNF @ 50%

I can get past Maria’s little crush on Rocky’s Dad but Charlie reciprocating those feelings is not something I want to read

rurrutia11's review against another edition

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2.0

This was not the greatest of YA novels, and that was truly unfortunate. It’s set in the mid to late 2000’s, when I myself was a young adult, but it hardly felt like Jimenez took advantage of the time period in any way. The funny thing is that the characters actually feel truly real; the problem is that they’re portrayed too real to the point that they’re downright unlikeable. On top of that, there’s no satisfying resolutions to the characters stories, and the few resolutions to problems that do happen feel completely unearned and Deus Ex Machina-ish in nature. An okay first outing for Jimenez, but definitely not one that has me pinning for more.

thaidyedmissy's review against another edition

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2.0

I didn't care for any of the characters. The story line felt like it was all over the place.

booknightowl's review against another edition

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2.0

This story takes place in New York and its about this girl named Maria who lives in Queens and travels to the upper east side to a private high school. This book deals with families, race, relationships, sex, and betrayal.

Trying to put into words of how I felt about this story...I didn't like it. I was highly disappointed. I felt like it jumped all over the place. I didnt like any of the characters. They were all messed up in there own little way. I'm glad this book wasn't that long otherwise I might have DNF'd it.