Book Review: What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez

Since I put together my original list for the Debut Author Challenge back in November, I’ve been eagerly waiting for copies of the books to show up in my library system. And let me tell you, so far, these books have totally been worth the wait.

What Can't Wait (Carolrhoda Ya)What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I watch the life that my parents lead, and I know that I want something different. They have worked hard their entire lives with no savings to show for it. My dad dropped out of school in Mexico before third grade; my mom “graduated” from middle school. My brother and sister got out of high school, but they don’t want anything more.

High school Senior Marisa is working hard. All the time. At school, she is trying to keep up with a college-preparatory course load that includes AP Calculus. Even with her affinity for math, it’s hard to stay on top of homework when her after-school hours are taken up with working extra shifts at the grocery store to help support la familia (she hands over half of her paycheck to her parents) and baby-sitting her niece. Her math teacher is pushing her to apply to an engineering program in Austin, but her parents aren’t even eager to see her start school in town at the University of Houston. Marisa sees the life her sister leads, pregnant as a teenager and now in an unhappy marriage to the father, and she knows she wants a different life. While her best friend is happy to live out her life in Houston, Marisa wants to do more. Her whole life, she has tried to be the good daughter, to do and be everything her family needs. When does she get to take of herself?

In this realistic novel, Pérez brings the reader intimately into Marisa’s world, viewing it through her eyes. The dialogue is peppered with Spanish phrases, echoing the speech of many bilingual teens. Secondary characters are vividly drawn, and glimpses of their perspectives illuminate Marisa’s conflicts. Her life is full of complications that come with being a child of immigrants. Although the particular challenges she faces will be unfamiliar to some readers, her struggle to balance her own needs with those of the people she loves is universal.

Book Source: checked out from my public library

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Friday was my day off, so, of course, I spent it at a workshop on Cataloging and Classification. Because that’s just the sort of Partyin’ Librarian I am. The workshop was interesting, and I got to spend some time on the UCLA campus, where they have a potato tree.


Wanna see a close-up? Sure, you do!


See? Potatoes!

I showed people in the workshop that picture (in the little preview window on the camera). They thought it was a joke. But I bet I’m not only one who went home and looked it up and discovered that it’s a Kigelia pinnata, better known as a “Sausage Tree”. I still say potato.

UCLA is a place of many wonders.

The workshop itself was held in a gorgeous reading room lined with bookcases.


What can I say? I love a bookcase that requires a ladder.


And then I looked up.


I realize that this is probably an architectural choice, some sort of deconstructionist approach, but, to me, it just looks they got confused about where the ceiling would go and decided to leave it out.


I also worked on the second Jaywalker sock during the break (when I wasn’t taking pictures of odd vegetation). But, of course, I didn’t think to get a picture of that.