They Could Have Named Her Anything

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

I could not finish this book. I don't understand why I wasn't captivated by the story after a few chapters. This just isn't my cup of tea. I'm sure that the story is very good however I could not continue reading it. Thank you for the opportunity.
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This book unfortunately wasn't my cup of tea so I did end up DNF'ing the book. I was attracted to the plot of this book but unfortunately did not meet my expectations.
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If this is the first novel from Stephanie Jimenez, let's hope she keeps writing more. This was such a moving and beautiful book. She is obviously gifted and so creative - she has such a distinct way of describing emotions. And her storytelling is fluid and clever. Her characters were so real and handled with empathy. To be able to write from the p.o.v. of several different people throughout and having them all ring true is quite a feat. I am a middle-aged white woman, and I found much to relate to in each one of her characters. It was such an enjoyable read and I envy anyone who is just starting it!
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I am sorry that I did not finish this title. To be honest, none of the characters resonated with me and I found the plot line with her school friend’s father disconcerting. This meant I was less motivated to persist with the book as I was uncomfortable with the direction I thought it was going. Wee bit squeamish.
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Talent alone is not enough to become an author. Smart writers get feedback on their manuscripts from trusted readers, publish short pieces in reputable periodicals, and are active members of the literary community. Stephanie Jimenez is a shining example of a writer who made savvy choices that led to the publication of They Could Have Named Her Anything, a debut novel that sharply conveys the limitations of privilege and perception.
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I tried really hard to like this book. It has diversity and realistic situations not often portrayed. The problem is I didn't like any of the main characters. It just fell flat for me.
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Maria struggles coming from a lower income family attending a high-end school on scholarship.  The story chronicles her relationship with Rocky, a high fallutin classmate and Andres, the boyfriend that she isn't all that satisfied with.
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Stephanie Jimenez’s debut novel They Could Have Named Her Anything is a gripping coming of age story depicting the trials and tribulations of Puerto Rican-Ecuadorian Maria Rosario as she navigates between two worlds—as a young Latina residing in Queens and as a high school student at the prestigious Bell Seminary in Manhattan. Maria lives in a cramped apartment in Queens with her mom who cleans houses for wealthy New Yorkers similar to the students Maria attends school with and her recently unemployed father. Maria is befriended by a wealthy white classmate, Rocky Albrecht, who is a defiant rebel and trouble soon ensues when Maria captures the attention of Rocky’s dad. Maria perceives the inappropriate attention as a way to escape life in Queens but there are fateful repercussions of that decision.

I appreciate the complexity in which Jimenez has depicted Maria’s life as it is filled with nuances and, in effect, it takes to task the virgin-whore dichotomy. Although the male characters seem constrained by these static notions of Latina womanhood, the women in the story see life in more nuanced terms. Maria, for example, begins to interpret sex as transactional and a means to enable her to escape her working class environment and seek higher education.  The choices she makes have dire consequences but they are hers to make nevertheless. The book is a page turner and recommended for those interested in coming of age stories about Latinas.
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This book is about seventeen year old Maria who lives in Queens but goes to private school on the Upper East Side. She struggles to fit in as one of the only Latina students and is surprised when Rocky, who is very wealthy, befriends her. This is told mainly from Maria’s perspective, but has views from Rocky as well as both of their fathers.

I felt like the story jumped all over the place and some parts were boring and I would forget what I was reading. Other times I felt like Maria was just doing things for no reason and some scenes made no sense to me. I didn’t understand why some scenes even existed, they didn’t do much for the story or could have been written in a different way that would have moved the story along better.

I couldn’t stand the way Maria acted sometimes and although she seemed to change her attitude a little towards the end she still wasn’t a likable character for me. Honestly, all the characters were unlikable and the only person I could tolerate was Karen, but she wasn’t respected enough by Maria and I felt bad for her.

Unfortunately this book just wasn’t for me, but there is someone out there who it is for. 

Thank you NetGalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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In They Could Have Named Her Anything, seventeen-year-old Maria Rosario, a denizen of Queens, makes a long journey to the Upper East Side each day where she attends Bell Seminary as a scholarship student. Although one of the only Latina students, she doesn’t fit in with the other girls in the Students of Color group, yet she sometimes leans into the stereotypes foist upon her, as she does in math class to bully her teacher into accepting it when she moved from her assigned seat in the front of the room to the back where she daydreamed about Andres, her boyfriend who called her a “corpse” after she lost her virginity to him.

That fateful move brought her into a collision course with Rachelle “Rocky” Albrecht, one of the wealthiest girls in a school full of rich students. Maria and Rocky gravitate towards each other, Maria envying Rocky’s wealth and privilege, Rocky jealous of Maria’s close family. Yet, the two also clash with secrets and misunderstandings. Although told primarily from Maria’s point of view, the book also has sections told from the points of view of Rocky, her dad, Charlie, and Maria’s father, Miguel.

Typically, this is a book I would like, given the diversity of the characters, the coming of age story, and the questions of identity and sexuality. However, They Could Have Named Her Anything wasn’t for me. One issue I had was that it didn’t seem to fall fully into the young adult or adult category and so was awkwardly straddling both. Another is that personally, I found the writing style choppy, as though I was in a bumper car or driving on a road full of potholes. It’s possible that this was done deliberately to reflect Maria’s circumstances or state of mind, but I found it detracted from my enjoyment of the book, so much so that at several points, I was tempted not to finish it.

That said, Jimenez did write some lovely passages, and I thought the idea of being hemmed in my one’s name—or liberated by it—interesting. I suspect that there would be readers who would really adore this book, but unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them.
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I DNFed this book because I can't bring myself to read any more of this.

Nothing makes sense and from the other reviews I read when trying to decide whether to continue with this book or not, its clear that there is a grown man that has a relationship with a minor in the book and that this 'relationship' is not really addressed. I'm not down for that. 

The men were predatory, the women were catty. No character was the same from one chapter to the next (seriously the lack of consistency was breathtaking). Every relationship is unhealthy.

I won't be reading another book by this author. 

I was sent this ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Unfortunately, this book did not work for me at all.  I thought that the topics that author was trying to deal with, which is timely did not really work.  The main character Maria, I just did not like.  This was extremely disappointing.
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DNF.....I tried and tried again, but I couldn't bring myself to get past the 4th chapter.
The storyline was all over the place and the characters were just not interesting enough for me to continue reading. Sorry!
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DNFing at 7%.

Normally I give the books I read 50 to 75 pages before deciding if I want to DNF it, but this one is an exception. In the 20 or so pages I read of this, I detest both Maria and Rocky. The writing also felt choppy and the flow wasn't smooth at all.

I was really excited to read this one simply due to the Latino rep, but unfortunately this just wasn't for me at all.
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Stephanie Jimenez writes about the struggle of being between worlds. Maria leaves her Queens apartment every morning to head to her private high school on the Upper East Side. She is one of the only Latina students in the sea of white. Rocky befriends Maria and brings her into the world of privilege. While they grow closer - the secret jealousies that all girl friends go through start to crack through to the surface. Maria wants the wealth and privilege, Rocky wants the family and love.

This is a modern story about race, class and family. While this is an adult novel this would be great would young adults as well, as it touches on topics that affect us all.

Thanks to netGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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The author was able to capture the struggles of a teen that has to live in two different worlds, her home in Queens and her fancy school in Manhattan.  I love how the author chose to write each character as flawed because no one is perfect and it annoys me when authors write characters that are.  I found this to be an enjoyable read!
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This is a coming of age story featuring high school students Maria and Rocky but not really YA because it also includes the voices of their fathers.  An unusual approach, to be sure, to alternate fathers and daughters but you'll appreciate the young women more when you read their dad's thoughts.  Miguel and Charlie, like their daughters, are far apart in class and wealth but they share many of the same concerns.  Well written and interesting.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A good read.
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Stephanie Jimenez establishes a powerful and authentic voice in this young adult narrative. It has edge, grit, and truth - more work from this author, please!
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This story takes place in New York and its about this girl named Maria who lives in Queens and travels to the upper east side to a private high school. This book deals with families, race, relationships, sex, and betrayal. 
 
Trying to put into words of how I felt about this story...I didn't like it. I was highly disappointed. I felt like it jumped all over the place. I didnt like any of the characters. They were all messed up in there own little way.  I'm glad this book wasn't that long otherwise I might have DNF'd it.
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