Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading: The Go-Between

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Just Finished Reading: The Go-Between

The Go-Between
by Veronica Chambers

Published on May 9, 2017
by Delacorte

Synopsis from Goodreads: She is the envy of every teenage girl in Mexico City. Her mother is a glamorous telenovela actress. Her father is the go-to voice-over talent for blockbuster films. Hers is a world of private planes, chauffeurs, paparazzi and gossip columnists. Meet Camilla del Valle Cammi to those who know her best. When Cammi s mom gets cast in an American television show and the family moves to LA, things change, and quickly. Her mom s first role is playing a not-so-glamorous maid in a sitcom. Her dad tries to find work but dreams about returning to Mexico. And at the posh, private Polestar Academy, Cammi s new friends assume she s a scholarship kid, the daughter of a domestic. At first Cammi thinks playing along with the stereotypes will be her way of teaching her new friends a lesson. But the more she lies, the more she wonders: Is she only fooling herself?
My take: Overall, The Go-Between is an entertaining story about a girl pretending to be someone she's not. Camilla is the daughter of a famous Mexican telenovela actress - her mom is the beloved star of Mundos sin Fronteras. So she hangs with the #RKOMC (Rich Kids of Mexico City), though she doesn't really feel like she fits in. When her mom gets hired to shoot a pilot in Los Angeles, Cammie's plunked down into a completely new environment, a private school where everyone assumes she's a scholarship kid, the daughter of a domestic worker. When her secret is finally exposed, she's hoping to have taught her new friends something about making assumptions. Instead, they're all mad at her - her rich friends feel manipulated, and an East LA student Cammie has been trying to befriend is furious that Came has been playing at being poor.

What I liked: I was interested to read a YA contemporary that explores the intersections of ethnicity and social class. Watching Cammie navigate her new environment was fascinating and fun - in Mexico she knew she was super-privileged, but in the U.S. she wasn't sure where she fit in and was fascinated at the way people made assumptions about her. The writing was lively and the book included a lot of cool information about Mexico City and Mexican history, architecture, and food.

On the less positive side, there was something about the narration that was distancing. YA writing is usually not like that - in fact, I'd argue that YA writing is all about creating a tight bond between narrator and reader. From the author's bio, I can see that her prior publications were mostly memoirs, which made a lot of sense to me. This book did read a bit like a memoir -- I was always aware that I was being told a story. I'm not one of those people who thinks "telling" in a story is a mortal sin, but this story did feel told and not shown. The plot also felt a little like a sitcom - comic, with a problem that is set up and then quickly and easily resolved - but maybe that was deliberate.

That said, The Go-Between made me laugh and made me think. It's an entertaining read that isn't the typical YA contemporary.

4 comments:

  1. It sounds like she had a tough time adjusting. Either in Mexico or in the US, being comfortable was a problem with her. I've never heard of this book before but I'm curious!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I liked that aspect of the book. It's hard to fit in sometimes!

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  2. Sounds like it could be a cute book, and I love your photo at the top! Great review!

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