Sunday, October 11, 2020

YA Review: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Title: Furia

AuthorYamile Saied Méndez

Year Published: 2020

Category: YA fiction (sports)
Pages: 368
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map): Argentina and USA (UT)

FTC Disclosure: I paid for this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life. 
 
At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father. 
 
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
 
But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.
 
Filled with authentic details and the textures of day-to-day life in Argentina, heart-soaring romance, and breathless action on the pitch, Furia is the story of a girl’s journey to make her life her own.
 
Review: This book was recommended by the library assistant at one of our local junior highs and I am so glad she told me about it.

I enjoy a good sports movie (think: Remember the Titans, Hoosiers) or book. This one has a good combination of a bit of sports descriptions (but certainly not too much) and life and it's really the life that is the star of this book. Camila is smart, talented, and oppressed. By her father, her brother (a bit), her society, and her social class. The author does a great job of showing what it's like for a young woman to walk the streets of her Argentinian town, to deal with expectations and assumptions, and to be denied her dreams.

It was difficult to read the bits about Camila's family, her mother in particular, and how dysfunctional they were as a unit. Keeping secrets and feeling that they've settled takes its toll. I really felt like I was in Camila's life, the descriptions were rich and showed what life is like for the various characters. In the afterword, the author tells about growing up in just such a town, which explain why she did it so well.

If you like sports, characters who go after a dream, or books that give you a glimpse into another culture, I highly recommend this novel.

Challenges for which this counts: 


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