Review: Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez

in , by Komal, September 11, 2020
Title: Furia
Publication Date: Sept 15th, 2020


An #ownvoices contemporary YA set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.
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 fĂștbol—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



Cover

First of all, we are going to talk about the cover, that’s a striking cover, now that I’ve read the book, the cover is more than that. It shows a brave woman who’s not afraid to face the harsh realities and make the best out of things. 

Characters/Plot

There was significance to every single character. Camila is one of the best protagonists I’ve read in all YA novels. She was sincere, hard-working, ambitious, and also very tough on herself. She was beautiful and her beauty is conveyed in her personality, not her looks.

All the other characters, her encouraging coach Alicia, ever-supportive best friend Roxana, Diego the charming, sweet, loving boyfriend were well-developed. Coach Alicia was Camila’s rock. She was the perfect mentor. The conversations with Camila and her mother were the most melancholic and the ones with her coach were the most cheerful. 

“You go find that joy in playing again, okay?”-Coach Alicia“Are you telling me to smile?” I asked, faking outrage. Coach laughed, throwing her head back. “No Hassan. I’m demanding that you make everyone who watches you smile.”

Camila and Diego were cute together. I loved their relationship and how they understood each other. From the very beginning, Diego gives me the ‘oblivious boyfriend’ vibes and you’ll have to find out if my opinion holds out till the end. I admired Diego, not unlike most of the characters in the novel. On a side note, WhatsApp is mentioned. I was so happy when they mentioned WhatsApp because it is the most used social media in India and is also hardly spoken about in most of the books I generally read.

“I prepaid for service. There’s an international plan with enough data that we can chat on WhatsApp all day.” He misunderstood my stunned expression. “We can make this work, Cami. If you want.”


With all the burdens she’s facing her focus remains unwavering. Her love and dedication towards futbol triumphed over everything else in her world and how she fought for that through and through. 

“My eyes prickled. I had forgotten how beautiful futbol was. Without referees, lines on the ground, trophies, tournaments, or life-changing contracts, the ball was a portal to happiness.”

Camila’s parents don't see her worth. Her mom, a Seamstress, has specific expectations for Camila. Her dad Andre(the name deserves a person with a better attitude) has his agenda. In the beginning, he reminded me a lot of Dan Scott from the earlier seasons of One Tree Hill. 

Themes

“Lies have short legs.”

This novel portrays the many, many expectations society place on women. Themes of violence against women, victim-blaming, slut-shaming..., the author doesn't hesitate in showing the agonizing truths. If it makes the reader uncomfortable, that’s good, because it's supposed to. Camila lives in a community where there is extreme prejudice and women are being violated. She questions people. Ones that get cast off by her parents and family friends and the rest of her community. The primary tone of the novel, hope hides behind all the heart-breaking moments in Furia. Time and time we see that Camila chooses the hard way out, she’s ready to face the obstacles to achieve her dreams.

“Our country has legalized same-sex marriage way, before the U.S., but prejudice didn’t read or obey laws. It was a hard weed to pull from people’s hearts.”

I was surprised by a lot of things in this book. But Camila’s mom’s character development tops that list. There couldn’t have been a better climax. It doesn’t lose its grip on realism. 

Writing style

I love the way the book just simply jumps in without any introductory elaborate descriptions. It made me feel like I was imagining a real story. The Spanish didn’t throw me off, probably because I spent 3 of my high school years in the U.S. The food items, the slang of the people, weather descriptions made it extremely clear to imagine the setting. While I couldn’t comprehend all of it, I certainly connected to the atmosphere. I was trying to read this book slowly (the last 20%) because I didn’t want it to end. I finished it in one sitting. 

Conclusion

This book hit close to home for an Indian student like me and with the entire #StudentLivesMatter movement going on right now. For those of you who are not aware, organizations like NTA(National Testing Agency) have decided to conduct JEE and other exams such as NEET, KCET, and EAMCET, compromising a lot of social distancing measures that are significant during this time. 

This novel discusses the difficulties people face in life, especially regarding career choices. A lot of students are pushed into corners by the burden of expectations, their hopes, and dreams, sacrifices they need to make for themselves. It just spoke to me. It's gonna connect with a lot of other kids. That being said, this is a story that deserves to be read by everybody, not just students. 

Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez is the most realistic coming-of-age novel I have read in my entire life. I loved Camila and her story. How free, untamed and unapologetically herself she is? It truly inspired me, made me want to be more like myself, regardless of what people think. I can’t wait to read another novel from Yamile that will surpass ‘Furia’ for me. If the above paragraphs haven’t made it obvious, READ THE BOOK. Claro?;)

ARC provided by Algonquin Young Readers and NetGalley. Thank you.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Furia is mentioned by Buzzfeed and Cait@paperfury in their posts which I read shortly before I requested it on NetGalley


Author chats about Furia and more








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