A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Furia, by Yamile Saied Méndez, is about Camila Hassan, a teen girl in Argentina who dreams of playing professional soccer. She has to keep this dream a secret because of family expectations and cultural views of women in sports. Things get more complicated when a childhood friend who is a budding international soccer star comes back to the barrio to romance Camila. The story shows how hard it is for people trying to break barriers and how difficult it is for women to balance their professional dreams against family responsibilities. There's some violence, including collisions ans injuries in soccer matches and a few scenes of verbal and physical abuse. The epidemic of missing and murdered women in Argentina figures into the plot. Characters kiss and make out a few times. There's little strong language ("hell," "damned," "ass," and one "s--t"). Adults drink and smoke in passing. Discussion topics include how society treats its young women, trust, and working hard toward a goal. The author is Argentinian American, making this is an "own voices" book and an excellent choice for readers seeking out such stories.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
FURIA is the story a girl in Argentina who dreams of playing soccer professionally. In the oppressively male-dominated culture of her Rosario barrio, Camila Hassan finds her joy and freedom on the soccer pitch. She can't tell anyone other than her best friend that's she's on a team because her parents forbid her from playing, but the more her team wins, the harder it is to keep the secret. And the team's becoming a force to be reckoned with, largely due to her intense, skillful play. Camila's home life is rough. Her father is an abusive bully, her brother is struggling to rise in the local soccer league, and her mom is emotionally beaten down by years of verbal abuse. Diego, her brother's best friend, complicates matters when he visits home from playing professionally in Europe and pursues a relationship with her. She can't see a way to make the relationship work with him playing halfway around the world and her pursuing her dream of playing professionally in America. The secrets and stress begin to take their toll on her. She knows at some point she has to live her life in the open, but who can she trust to help her?
Is it any good?
This story of a strong, resilient girl pursuing her dream of playing professional soccer is equal parts moving and exciting. In Furia, author Yamile Saied Méndez brings the game alive while creating indelible characters. Camila's a smart, hardworking girl, but her story shows how women struggle to have it all or are forced to make hard personal choices men often aren't asked to make. In keeping her soccer playing a secret, Camila is dampening down an important part of who she is. She starts to understand her mother better and sees what a lifetime of living under the expectations of others can do to a person. In this way, she grows tremendously as a character.
Méndez does an excellent job of balancing the excitement of the soccer scenes with the romance and family conflict storylines. It never feels like she's trying to cram in too much. The pace is perfect, and Camila's an engaging narrator the reader will be rooting for the whole way through.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the Argentinian barrio setting of Furia affects the story. Do you like stories that show what it's like to live in another country or culture? Do you feel like you learn more about what other people go through in their lives?
Camila has to hide much of her life from her family. Do you think she could have found a way from the start to tell her family about her soccer team or about dating? Or do you think in her case it's better to keep those secrets?
Do you have any activities you'll sacrifice everything for? Do you think that kind of passion and drive is a blessing or a curse?
- Author: Yamile Saied Méndez
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
- Publication date: September 15, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 368
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Award: ALA Best and Notable Books
- Last updated: January 25, 2021
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