When you combine the subject of telenovelas and immigration to the United States, you have my attention.  Find out all about The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers on today’s blog tour stop after the jump!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Fans of Jane the Virgin will find much to love about this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Veronica Chambers, who with humor and humanity explores issues of identity and belonging in a world that is ever-changing.

She is the envy of every teenage girl in Mexico City. Her mother is a glamorous telenovela actress. Her father is the go-to voice-over talent for blockbuster films. Hers is a world of private planes, chauffeurs, paparazzi and gossip columnists. Meet Camilla del Valle Cammi to those who know her best.

When Cammi’s mom gets cast in an American television show and the family moves to LA, things change, and quickly. Her mom s first role is playing a not-so-glamorous maid in a sitcom. Her dad tries to find work but dreams about returning to Mexico. And at the posh, private Polestar Academy, Cammi’s new friends assume she’s a scholarship kid, the daughter of a domestic.

At first Cammi thinks playing along with the stereotypes will be her way of teaching her new friends a lesson. But the more she lies, the more she wonders: Is she only fooling herself?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veronica Chambers.jpg

Veronica Chambers is a prolific author, best known for her critically acclaimed memoir, Mama’s Girl which has been course adopted by hundreds of high schools and colleges throughout the country. The New Yorker called Mama’s Girl, “a troubling testament to grit and mother love… one of the finest and most evenhanded in the genre in recent years.” Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, her work often reflects her Afro-Latina heritage.

She coauthored the award-winning memoir Yes Chef with chef Marcus Samuelsson as well as Samuelsson’s young adult memoir Make It Messy, and has collaborated on four New York Times bestsellers, most recently 32 Yolks, which she cowrote with chef Eric Ripert. She has been a senior editor at the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and Glamour. Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, she writes often about her Afro-Latina heritage. She speaks, reads, and writes Spanish, but she is truly fluent in Spanglish. She is currently a JSK Knight fellow at Stanford University.

OVERALL:  Clocking in at just over 200 pages, you should not expect this to be an in-depth dive into any subject.  Instead, take a hint from it’s colorful, summery cover and enjoy this for what it is: a quick and fun summer contemporary with a message.

What I really enjoyed about this book:

  • Topic of Mexican immigration to the US
  • Assumptions made of Mexican immigrants challenged
  • Camilla’s relationship with both of her parents was so sweet and unique
  • Positive promotion of seeking a professional assistance and medication for emotional/mental health issues
  • Short and fun read

Things I would change about this book:

  • From terrible friends to racism to ransoming wealthy people in Mexico City, there were so many topics to cover and not enough pages. I wish fewer topics had been discussed in more depth
  • I wouldn’t mind separate topics in future books by Veronica Chambers
  • The bad characters had no redeeming qualities–they did not come across as human (some may not see this as a flaw–I like to see humanity and conflict mixed in with my villains)

 

JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER:  The flashy cover caught my eye, then it inspired a fashion set.

ME TALK PRETTY:  This novel is told entirely in first person, from Cammi’s point of view.   She is a spoiled wealthy Mexico City girl who understand her privilege.  When she moves to LA, she sees what it means to be a Mexican in the US:  the assumption that she is poor, with a maid for a mother and that she’s on scholarship, troubles her, but also turns her into a sort of cultural anthropologist.

Chambers’ writing perfectly captures a witty, dry and sarcastic affluent teen.  We were sent an ARC from the publisher for a review, so please keep in mind that these words may not be the exact, final words used in the book.

“Only my jet-setting brother could tattle across eight time zones like that.”

“She reminded me of that beautiful human rights lawyer who married the famous actor who said he’d never get married.  One day, Willow would change the world and look gorgeous doing it.”

“I want to tell them the problem is not with my speaking, it’s with your listening. It’s your ears that need better, more multicultural training.”

“I was like the troublemaker character on a telenovela whose only mission in life was to stir the pot.”

 

AUDIOBOOK NARRATION:  Karla Souza’s narration in this clip is perfect.  Definitely have the audiobook on my TBR.

 

OPEN TAB/LAST CALL:  Veronica Chambers has written a children’s book about one of my childhood heros, Celia Cruz, and now one about immigration to the US.  I will definitely have a margarita waiting for her, should she care to join me.

The Go-Between is out now on Delacorte Press, Hardcover, 208 pages,

~Carmen
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