Size Doesn’t Matter (210): The Education of Margot Sanchez; A Taxonomy of Love

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (210): The Education of Margot Sanchez; A Taxonomy of LoveThe Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR on February 21, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.


Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sánchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moisés—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

For a moment, the book description really threw me. I hadn’t read it for probably a year, and I did not remember that Pretty in Pink comp. Initially, it was a bit of a head-scratcher tbh. With a bit more thought, I do see it, but when I think of Pretty in Pink I think more about the romance and the really ugly dress more than the class tensions, which is the part that The Education of Margot Sanchez shares. The Education of Margot Sanchez focuses on family, class tensions, gentrification, and Margot’s emotional arc, and it’s really good.

Though I really liked this book all the way through, The Education of Margot Sanchez is one of those books where I had to stop to take mental breaks. Margot makes a lot of really bad choices, and it’s pretty stressful because you want to stop her from doing these things. See, Margot desperately wants to fit in with the wealthy, popular, white girls from her private school, at which she is the only Latina. To try to fit in, she does really terrible things, such as stealing money from her parents for clothes, which is how she ends up stuck working at the family grocery store over the summer, rather than partying in the Hamptons with her friends.

Margot’s been raised solidly upper middle class, and she’s very much not thrilled to be stuck doing manual labor at a grocery store in the Bronx. She has a very judgmental attitude towards the neighborhood and the people in it. People keep trying to explain to her how their lives are different from hers, but she really doesn’t understand. Her parents very much brought Margot up to look down on those without money, and it’s left her feeling like she belongs absolutely nowhere. It’s a painful road for Margot to personal growth, but it’s all very realistically done. I always love getting to the part of the book where the heroine learns to give people more of a chance and to stand up for herself.

Personally, I’d have liked a bit more romance from The Education of Margot Sanchez. I’d have loved it if this book were another 80 pages or so, so that Rivera could really develop the plot arcs with Nick and Moises. The book absolutely works as it is, but it could have been even stronger with that additional development. As much as I like Moises, I don’t feel like I got to know him as well as I should have, because he and Margot didn’t actually spend that much time together and she was pretending to be someone else for most of it. And I’d have liked to see more emotional impact from her relationship with Nick. The book really isn’t about the romance, but I think those things could have fit in really well. Also, I’d have liked another scene with Jasmine at the end, come to think of it.

If you loved I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, you should absolutely read The Education of Margot Sanchez. This is an excellent read for people who love family-centric stories and powerful emotional arcs.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (210): The Education of Margot Sanchez; A Taxonomy of LoveA Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen
Published by Amulet Books on January 9, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

Rachael Allen’s third novel, A Taxonomy of Love, delivers everything I’ve come to expect from Allen’s books: solid character arcs, beautiful writing, and the tackling of serious issues in a way that isn’t too heavy. Though this one is my least favorite of her books, please understand that’s entirely due to the fact that this premise is least up my personal trope alleys.

From a craft perspective, A Taxonomy of Love is fantastic. Allen uses a standard first person POV for Spencer and a mixture of emails and chat conversations for his crush and childhood best friend Hope’s perspective. Interspersed throughout are taxonomies that Spencer has drawn, because he finds them helpful in understanding and classifying the world around him. Spencer’s voice rings true and relatable, as does Hope’s in her more conversational sections.

A Taxonomy of Love starts when Spencer is 13 and runs until he’s 18. This isn’t particularly typical in YA these days, but hearkens back to bildungsroman of old. I actually really like this style of narrative, because you get an even better sense of how the characters came of age. Spencer has Tourette’s syndrome, which tbh I knew almost nothing about aside from the pop culture stereotype; as I don’t know much what I can say rep-wise is that Spencer’s in no way any sort of stereotype.

Though A Taxonomy of Love is also a romance, that’s the part that didn’t click for me quite so much. While I like both Spencer and Hope separately and as friends, I didn’t really sense chemistry. They’ve also both done enough not great stuff to each other through the years that it just wasn’t really there for me. Spencer especially acts like a jerk anytime he’s jealous of her relationship with his brother, which makes sense given their father’s treatment of them both, but which still sucks. I do appreciate that Spencer comes to realize over the years that he initially thought of her in an MPDG sort of way and that they don’t get together during that period, but I never came to ship it.

As ever, I’m impressed with Allen’s skill. She pulled off a different kind of contemporary novel and a male POV here. I can’t wait for whatever she publishes next!

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


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