An #ownvoices contemporary YA set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.
In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.
At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.
Author: Yamile Saied Méndez
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
This book rocked my world and left me in a stunned silence. If there’s anything you take from this review, it should be READ THIS BOOK!
One thing I loved about this book was the balance between things. What I mean by that is while the story is focused on futbol and Camila’s love for the game, there is so much more to the story than that. It talks about respect for others, women’s rights, self-empowerment, abuse, and finding that spark within yourself.
Camila, the main character, is a strong-willed and stubborn girl who knows she wants to be a professional futbol player. She’s just not sure how to tell others that, especially her difficult family. Normally, I’m not a fan of books where the main character keeps secrets from her family that are bound to explode later in the book. For Camila, however, her reasons for keeping secrets felt pretty valid so I wasn’t bothered as much. I was so glad that she had a great support group outside of her family though.
We’re able to get to know Camila’s coach, Coach Alicia, her best friend, Roxanna, and her long time crush, Diego. Each of these characters plays an important role in helping Camila to become Furia. I really appreciated being able to see different sides to these characters as well. They didn’t feel flat or one-dimensional which I think is what added so much to the storyline.
As well, the pace of this book moved great! There weren’t a bunch of exciting things happening the whole book, but I was still completely entranced and hooked.
I can’t recommend this book enough. If you like books of empowerment and characters with a voice that needs to be heard, this is the book for you. As well, for all of my fellow hopeless romantics, there is some romance weaved throughout the book that made me swoon more than once.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children’s and Young Adult program. She’s a PB, MG, and YA author. Yamile is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx MG and YA authors. She’s represented by Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary.