This book was amazing. Well-written, exciting, scary, heart-warming, and troubling at times. I lived in Houston, Texas until I was eight years old so it was interesting to read about someone growing up in Texas under completely different circumstances than mine. I also loved that the main character was Mexican-American, but couldn’t speak Spanish (where I’m Indian-American and can’t speak much of my mother-tongue, Tamil) so I kind of related to that.
The story is about a young girl named Chula whose very poor family has asked a Mexican fighter to come and fight in a match so that they can basically win some money off of him. The premise felt very unique and I loved the very dark imagery the writer uses to describe the fighter. I did have a few issues with the age of the character, which felt a little inconsistent to me (she felt younger than 12 at times), as well as with her constant denigration of her own potential. Chula repeatedly talks about how Mexicans from her neighborhood, “the Circle,” can never amount to anything and never get the chance to be anything, which felt a little untrue since though they *did* have an accelerated learning program at her school and her aunt even had the opportunity to attend Princeton (though didn’t because she got pregnant).
But all in all, excellent novel with a strong voice and memorable, multi-faceted characters.