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WHAT CAN'T WAIT by Ashley Hope Pérez

WHAT CAN'T WAIT

By Ashley Hope Pérez

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7613-6155-8
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab

If only 17-year-old Marisa Morena could figure out her future in her Houston barrio as well as she solves calculus problems. How can she even think of entering the engineering program at UT-Austin with so much going on? She’s needed to watch her young niece so her sister (with no insurance) can work a double shift to pay off her husband’s hospital bills, she has plenty of shifts of her own every weekend at the grocery store and her illiterate, immigrant father constantly reminds her that “Girls and numbers don’t mix.” And as if she doesn’t have enough “fucking problemas,” what with tiptoeing around her stubborn father and trying to please her needy mother while squeezing in secret AP Calculus practice sessions, the teen watches her peers get pregnant and married (in that order) and wonders if staying in Houston can be “good enough.” First-time author Pérez fills a hole in YA lit by giving Marisa an authentic voice that smoothly blends Spanish phrases into dialogue and captures the pressures of both Latina life and being caught between two cultures. With help from a boyfriend with similar desires, a supportive teacher and an unexpected hand from her family, Marissa learns to put her own goals first in a hopeful but never too-tidy ending. Un magnifico debut. (Fiction. 12 & up)