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Review: What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

W h a t  C a n' t  W a i t by Ashley Hope Perez
Release Date: 3/28/11
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Age Group: Young Adult (16+)
Pages: 240
Source: Thank you NetGalley | Carolrhoda Books! 
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Word Blurb: Inspiring, encouraging, and touching!
"'Another day finished, gracias a Dios.'

Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.

At school, it's another story. Marisa's calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn't end each day thanking God it's over.

What Can't Wait—the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Pérez—tells the story of one girl's survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future."

This book was so captivating! Pérez really gripped me with her characters, her well of understanding for adolescents and their struggles, and the overall plot. Right away, Marisa caught me with her familial struggles and obligations, her home life... How she managed to juggle it all - her responsibilities as far as school and at home, taking care of her niece, going to work, and making some sort of time for her friends - at her age, I don't know. It was saddening in a way, because Marisa was raised in a setting that forced her to grow up fast, become an adult earlier than expected...

I loved the characters! They were fleshed out, well-developed characters that I learned more and more about as I read. I don't know if I was annoyed by or enjoyed her best friend, Brenda. Though between her and Marisa, I cracked up a lot! I was torn between wanting to slap the heck out of Cecilia, Marisa's sister, and liking her. I loved Ms. Ford, Marisa's math teacher. Even though she seems inconsiderate of Marisa's life outside of school, I like that she's... for lack of a better word, a pusher. She pushes Marisa to do better, be more. And in a way, while she doesn't indicate that she sympathizes a lot with Marisa, she represents how the life can be. There are times where people don't care about what outside crises are going on, only about now. But, my favorite character, besides Marisa, would have to be Alan!

Boy, is that guy understanding and very patient! Not to mention incredibly sweet and caring. Gosh, I really fell for that Alan. *blushes* His artwork just killed! They were so full of depth, so insightful. Marisa was pretty lucky to find a guy with a good-looking interior as well as exterior in high school. And to see how well he took Marisa's upcoming future, which could potentially not include him... I just found him to be adorable!

My favorite part had to have been the ending, though! While it wasn't all about the romance - even throughout the book, it wasn't - it was about Marisa, and her goals and dreams coming to fruition. It was about determining that these goals and dreams simply couldn't wait. I'm so happy to see that she went after what she wanted, that in the end she had the courage to. And that in itself was immensely satisfying.

I most definitely will be checking out Pérez's future works, for sure!

"Sweet, this is just what I need!' The three O's disappear, and all that's left in the box is XXX. 'Hey, that's a little more serious than hugs and kisses, verdad?' He grins and offers me on of his donuts. 'Ok, can I give you my thing now?'
He doesn't wait for me to answer, and pulls out a big red envelope. Inside is a giant card with pink and red butterflies inked on a white background. Each one has these crazy intricate designs inside its wings. Like everything Alan draws, it's beautiful. Inside there's a simple message in block letters: 'Marisa, be my mariposa.'"

Ohmigod, isn't he just too cute? I fell right over the edge in love with him right then!

"I break in with one of Ms. Ford's jokes. 'Why does everyone like to be around a mushroom?'
'God, this is going to be a groaner. I can already tell,' Brenda says.
'Cause he's such a fun-gi!' I slap my knee. 'Get it? FUN-GI...FUN GUY!'
Brenda and Greg groan, but Alan laughs. I pull his face close and kiss him."

He even laughs at her jokes! What's not to love about this guy?

Anyway, happy blogging! And thanks for reading!


Ashley Hope Pérez said...

Thanks so much for the love for What Can't Wait, Asher! I'm always honored to learn what my readers are thinking. Yay for thoughtful bloggers!