Booklist Reviews

Thanks to her father's successful grocery store, Margot Sanchez—aka Princesa—enjoys attending an elite prep school and looks forward to a college education. But her true education begins when she's relegated to spending the summer working with her father in the South Bronx, instead of in the Hamptons with her friends. There she learns that developers have targeted her neighborhood for gentrification, placing homes and businesses (including her father's store) in danger. A local boy named Moises takes the time to teach her about the Puerto Rican music, food, and culture—her culture—of the South Bronx. Suddenly, Margot finds herself at odds with the urbane identity she has developed. Quickly eschewing the trappings of a typical romance, this book showcases Margot's clashing identities as a teen struggling to define herself despite the expectations of her immigrant parents. The depiction of economic disparity, racism, and identity in the age of social media are intentionally inconclusive; Margot (and the reader) must grapple with them. A debut of great candor, depth, and empathy. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

A Puerto Rican teenager spends the summer working in her father's South Bronx supermarket, where she experiences myriad unfortunate developments. Margot Sanchez is being punished for stealing her father's credit card by working at Sanchez & Son's Supermarket. Accustomed to the whitewashed scenery of Somerset Prep, the brown-skinned teen now has to put up with her older, violent brother who lost his wrestling scholarship and got kicked out of school. Margot's machista dad oversees the store, while her submissive mother stays at home. With secondary and tertiary characters aplenty, turbulent relationships abound at the workplace, among friends and family, and threaten a gentrifying neighborhood. As seen through narrator Margot's eyes, the characters are often unapologetically, stereotypically flawed: the men are macho or players; the rich, white youth are privileged and usually ignorant; the Latinas are mostly sassy and full of attitude, but at other times they are submissive. In this coming-of-age novel, Rivera touches on countless problems: trust issues, family grief and disappointment, domestic violence, verbal abuse, socio-economic woes, love affairs, a neighborhood undergoing gentrification. Rather than delving into these issues, readers are flung from one plot point to the next, as if running through a checklist of conflicts: drunken sex, drugs, violence, theft, lies. Unitalicized Spanish and Puerto Rican colloquialisms are generously woven into the text, as are slurs in both English and Spanish. Not only is Margot experiencing an identity crisis, the book is too. (Fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Margot Sanchez, "the great brown hope" of her family, is caught between the wealthy, white world of Somerset Prep, the private school she attends, and that of her "Rich Adjacent" Latino family, which owns two supermarkets in the Bronx. Margot changed her personal style in order to befriend the popular girls at Somerset, and she's desperate to spend the summer with them in the Hamptons. Instead, she is stuck stocking shelves and working the deli counter at the supermarket—punishment for stealing her father's credit card for a shopping spree—and trying to reconnect with the friends she left behind. Debut novelist Rivera doesn't sugarcoat Margot's conflicted life as the teenager juggles the sexist attitudes from the men in her family, the judgments from "cashieristas" at the store and her party-happy Somerset friends alike, romantic conflicts involving boys from school and the neighborhood, and family crises that arise. Margot makes mistakes, misplaces her trust, and gradually reestablishes who she is in an emotional story about class, race, hard work, and finding one's place. Ages 14–up. Agent: Eddie Schneider, Jabberwocky Literary. (Feb.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Margot is disappointed to be spending her summer working in her family's Bronx-based chain of grocery stores, away from her elite prep school crowd. She is suffering the consequences of using her father's credit cards to finance her wardrobe and would much rather be partying with her friends and her crush in the Hamptons. Margot is rude to her family's employees, rejects her childhood friend, steals beer from her family to impress her new friends, and casually loses her virginity (to a guy who clearly doesn't value her much) after she's been drinking. Her attempts to redeem herself as she finally sees the error of her ways are effective, though, and over the course of the summer, Margot slowly learns the value of real friendship, navigates some family secrets, and begins to see her Puerto Rican heritage in a different light, culminating in an unsurprising but happy conclusion. VERDICT A fairly standard problem novel, but the realistic Latinx characters make this a welcome addition to YA shelves.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal.