What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez
“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.
Marissa wants to be more than what her family expects her to be. Her family expects her to marry, work hard and stay around her family to help them out. Marissa wants so much more. She tries hard at school and is even taking AP calculus to get into a good university to become more than an assistant manager at the local grocery store. With all her family and work obligations, Marissa finds it hard to keep up with her advanced classes and sometimes she even thinks that she will never be able to achieve her goals, but her calculus teacher believes she can be so much more than Marissa even believes.
When her life gets unbearable Marissa will have to decide whether she should, or even could, put her needs before her family, and when the time comes, will she be able to leave everything behind to live her own life.
What Can't Wait is a gripping debut novel about making the hard decision between family commitments and personal desire. Marissa is a very strong character who really cares for her family. She watches her niece, cooks for her family, works long hours and gives half her pay to her family, and she even manages to keep up with high level courses in order to gain admittance into a proper college. Even for people who don't know the Mexican culture that Marissa comes from will be able to relate to her because of her desire to please her family and not let them down, but also the desire to achieve more than what her family expects.
What Can't Wait is a roller coaster of emotion as Marissa is faced with the ups and downs of high school and family commitments, all leading up to her making the biggest decision of her life. When it comes time, will she actually be able to leave her family and start her life?
Release Date: March 28th 2011
2011 Debut Author Challenge: #10 of 20
2011 YA Reading Challenge: #16 of 50
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