Racism, Class, And Betrayal Collide In This Poignant Debut Novel About Restoring The Broken Bonds Of Family And Friendship Every Morning, Seventeen Year Old Maria An S Rosario Takes The Subway An Hour From Her Boisterous And Close Knit Family In Queens To Her Private High School On The Upper East Side, Where She Struggles To Fit In As One Of The Only Latina Students Until Rocky Welcomes Her Into This New Life White, Rebellious, And Ignored By Her Wealthy Parents, Rocky Uses Her Money Toward One Goal To Get Away With Anything To Maria, It S A Dazzling Privilege.As A Bond Develops Between These Unlikely Friends, Neither Can See What They Share Most Jealousy And The Desire For Each Other S Lives But Crackling Under The Surface Of Their Seemingly Supportive Alliance, The Girls Begin To Commit Little Betrayals As They Strive To Get Closer To Their Ideals Regardless Of The Consequences.Told From The Perspectives Of Maria, Rocky, And Their Fathers, They Could Have Named Her Anything Explores The Heartfelt Expectation Of What It Means To Live Up To The Name You Ve Been Given And The Rewarding Discovery Of What Really Matters. This book upset me because by the end I felt like I had wasted my time reading it when I could have read something different I just couldn t develop any real empathy for Maria, the main character, who at times seemed to have her life in focus, other times seemed depressed which was never treated or addressed while other times just seemed to run on pure self centeredness The relationship with Charlie just seemed tarnished and ugly and like child abuse than anything else Cannot think of a single person in this book that I was really rooting for. This month 7 2019 only Prime Members get to choose 2 books for the Prime First Reads programs I m so thankful because I couldn t choose between I went into this book with no expectations and it was like stepping through a portal The characters are messy and confused and full of angst They are a mix of good and bad, like real people This book grapples with the human condition in a modern urban setting Maria is surrounded by concrete and expectations and cultural differences between Queens and her private high school in Manhattan Few seventeen year olds would navigate this gracefully, I think, and it all felt real to me the selfish moments, the heartbroken moments, the aching desire to be seen for who you are while not knowing who you are at the same time Each character is going through one of the worst times in their life Maria unsure if her family can afford college and navigating boys men who only care about possessing her body Rocky cool and rich and fashionable, but always alone with her parents divorcing Miguel losing his job and feeling torn between forcing his daughter to work and helping her get to college, and knowing he is worth than what he s ever been paid and Charlie rich and successful at work but losing his wife and his kids respect, then finding shallow comfort in an easy to manipulate 17 year old girl Like I said, it s messy and these characters aren t trying to make you like them, but you will see them I thought the ending was beautiful and subtle All the characters change by small believable degrees and there is a dramatic scene that brings everything to a head, but the ending is soft in a way that I appreciated Some books end like death, with such finality that the characters are forever trapped by how their story ends But this novel doesn t slam the door, rather it whispers goodbye as it gently ushers us away so that the characters can live the rest of their lives without us watching I loved it and I m looking forward to the author s next book This book states it s an adult novel with a seventeen year old protagonist but to me it read like YA fiction I got through about 75% before giving up because the characters, their actions, etc didn t appeal to me I think it s probably a great read for YA, but not for a 40 year old woman. 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 enad 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 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 Stephanie Jimenez is an exciting new writer to watch. This Book Could ve Been About AnythingThis was my first First Reads and I m just trying to figure out what I just read I could not tell you for the life of me what this book was about Maria was a weird protagonist, it felt like she was just doing things for no particular reason at all just moving from scene to even as the book calls for it Why was she still dating and sleeping with Andres if he despised her so much He literally broke up with her while fingering her because according to him she had the deadest coochie in the world Why was she all hot and bothered for Rocky s dad but as soon as she finally got in bed with him she acted almost as if he was raping her I m just not sure what this book was supposed to be about or what I was supposed to take away from the story Like i can t tell you why any of the things in this book happened or what it all means in the long run I guess I was just bored and because there was no real story it was hard to look forward to the next scene. OK what The story was ok It moved along with a good pace but the ending was crazy It just ended Sometimes the writting was boring where I wasnt even paying attention to what I was reading but some parts pulled me in Just wish the ending was in deed a ending. There were certain aspects of this book I enjoyed the dilemma faced by a Latino teenager, trying to fit in with her peers in a predominately white school, find her identity, and establish independence from her parents two young women from different backgrounds, establishing an unlikely relationship because they provided a view into a life each of them thought they were missing out on the girl who has everything , who wishes for the one thing she doesn t have a loving relationship with her parents In the end, though, I really found it hard to like any of the characters I recall having difficult relationships with girlfriends in high school, but these two were just awful to each other, most of the time Rocky s parents were self centered, ignorant of their children s needs, and uncaring about anyone but themselves Out of anyone, I empathized the most with Maria s parents, who, although dealing with their own issues, clearly wanted the best for their children in the long run. The characters did not really develop and in certain parts it just dragged The writing style was a bit jumbled at times too With some character development and editing it could have been a better story. Decent debutThis is a solid debut coming of age novel about love, identity and finding your way It is a bit dark and somber for my taste, but a good read.