Hello Gemmies! I am so excited to participate in the Algonquin Young Readers Book Blog Tour for Furia by Yamile Mendez. I loved this book so much. From the characters, to the romance, to the food, and incredible story or perseverance. It is my pleasure to help spread the word for this contemporary feminist romance. First up on the tour is my book review...enjoy!
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publishing Date: September 15, 2020
In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.
At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.
Furia is a debut YA contemporary coming of age story by Yamile Saied Mendez. I was so excited to receive this one to review and man I was not disappointed, Furia absolutely blew me away. I cannot believe this is Yamile's first novel. Furia pulls you in from the very first page. This is very much a story about female empowerment and resilience in the face of insurmountable odds. Let's start with the story. The plot was unexpected, fresh, and new. Although this is a YA novel, there are some very serious themes throughout like machismo, misogyny, toppling patriarchal structures, child abuse, domestic abuse, and gender and class inequality that take this novel to the next level. I found myself fully immersed in this world. The world building is so fresh and authentic. Yamile's passion for her Argentinian culture was beautifully woven into every page. I found myself transported to Argentina sipping a mate while nibbling on an alfajor. The writing also flowed at a great pace all throughout this novel. I had to put the book down because I didn't want it to end! Otherwise I would have finished this gem in one sitting!
Furia is also an extremely well written character driven story with a diverse cast of characters that I found to be complex, dynamic, and relatable. I absolutely loved our main protagonist Camila Hassan aka la Furia. She is so fierce. Despite all the obstacles she faces, she remains true to herself. Camila is also a great role model for young girls. Too often in literature we see young women who need a man to save them or to help them achieve their goals. Not here, Camila is determined to see her dreams come to fruition and not even her love can distract her from doing it. Speaking of love, I LOVED the relationship between Camila and Diego. The chemistry between these two was amazing. Their relationship felt natural, it never came off as forced or rushed. Although there is romance in Furia it does not overpower the story. This is very much a feminist powerhouse of a book about breaking generational cycles of abuse that I recommend all girls and women read.
This gem published by Algonquin Young Readers is available for purchase from all major booksellers. I give Furia 5 out of 5 gems. I cannot wait for everyone to get to read this gem! Happy Reading!