|Margot Sanchez is sick of being grounded, working in her family’s grocery store, and spending the summer away from her friends. When Margot’s parents catch her using her father’s credit card to buy clothes to fit in with her prep school friends, they decide its time for her to start working to pay off her spending habits. Her summer job at the family owned grocery store in the Bronx is really getting in the way of Margot’s goals to maintain her prep school persona with her new, richer friends. Throw in a childhood best friend who doesn’t understand the new Margot, a cute guy, and family drama and Margot is set to have the worst summer. Margot decides she hates it all and she’ll do anything to get back to her own summer plans.
This book is a classic tale of a teenager’s rebellion that is quickly quelled by strict parents, but it has a fresh voice and a unique subplot. Margot is angsty, privileged, and self-conscious–but she admits being all of those things. She knows she shouldn’t steal from her parents and that she has it much better than the rest of the employees at her father’s store. She is dedicated to portraying the image of a rich, carefree girl to her classmates. Margot has such an authentic voice of a teenager who feels different, she’s a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx at a mostly white school, and just wants to fit in. When Margot meets Moises, an activist campaigning against gentrification, she starts to realize the way that her fake persona has taken over her real life. Margot’s performance for her prep-school friends has clouded her view of the issues going on with her family, friends, and neighborhood. I loved Margot’s teenage voice and her character development throughout the book. Teen readers will connect with her longing to fit in and complicated friendships. This book has a little bit of romance and a lot of learning to love yourself. It’s clear that Margot feels she must perform this prep-school-fakeness because of the way she initially feels about herself. To Margot, the only way for her to fit in with her white friends is to adopt the mean, rich girl attitude. Through the course of the book, Margot is able to understand the performance she’s been doing to fit in and she learns to accept herself. This is a great book to pair with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas since they both touch on activism and figuring out how to be you in a world that doesn’t always treat you kindly.
There’s a love triangle that could’ve been left out and a mostly predictable plot, but teen readers who are also feeling pressure to fit in will still connect with Margot and enjoy this book.
The Education of Margot Sanchez is about a Latina protagonist written by a Latina author. Characters speak a mix of English and Spanish throughout the book. The Spanish words are not italicized so the dialogue flows smoothly without othering or emphasizing the Spanish words. Add this to your #ownvoices YA collection.