Parents' Guide to

The Education of Margot Sanchez

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Social climbing and cultural identity collide in a fun read.

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In this alternately light and insightful story, a Puerto Rican teen tries to leave her Bronx roots behind for a slick prep-school life. The Education of Margot Sanchez tells the story of Margot, who is stuck between the identity she's trying to create for herself at school and the "princesa" she's known as in her parents' two Bronx supermarkets. Margot is hard to like through much of the book, with her judgmental, selfish, status-obsessed ways, but it is to author Lilliam Rivera's credit that we care about Margot's growth and what happens to her. Rivera does a good job of showing us how Margot struggles with her poor decisions and eventually learns from them. Rivera also doesn't shy away from showing the downside of the masculine, patriarchal culture in Margot's neighborhood. These elements keep the book from being a stereotypical story of a social-climbing teen in New York.

Margot's family issues also add depth to the book. We see her parents struggle with finances and their relationship, while her brother's making his own poor choices in trying to be the successful, smart son his parents expect him to be. Margot matures as she begins to understand more of the world around her, which makes for an enjoyable read. Rivera also gives the secondary characters a lot of personality and depth, a rarity in teen novels. The action and tension in the story makes this a page turner.

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