From the first page you meet Marissa, she is fullfiling the role of good daughter and sister. We meet her babysitting her niece, Anita, while her older sister flounces in with more complaints about her useless, partying husband. But Marissa has homework to do. She likes school, has dreams of going to University of Texas-Austin despite the rest of her siblings barely graduating high school.
Her immigrant parents are barely keeping the family afloat, and so they rely on her not only for free babysitting, but also money from her part-time job. It’s hard to get Calculus tutoring when your family expects you right home after school. Things become worse when an accident happens– and all of a sudden her beloved niece needs more care than ever before. How can Marissa even have time to fill out her application let alone keep up good grades when her father wants to her to quit high school to help the family?
This pretty much, I think, should be required reading for all public high school teachers, students, and administrative officials. If you’ve ever thought “well why can’t she be on time” or “she’s just lazy” or “he doesn’t challenge himself with difficult classes” or something similar about someone in a cultural minority that values family…here’s your path to understanding.
And there’s a sweet, lovely romance as well, so the book was like catnip for me. A thought-provoking and readable story. You’ll fall in love with Marissa, too.