Yamile Saied Méndez
September 15, 2020
Algonquin Young Readers
Blurb: A powerful, #ownvoices contemporary YA for fans of The Poet X and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter 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 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.
Filled with authentic details and the textures of day-to-day life in Argentina, heart-soaring romance, and breathless action on the pitch, Furia is the story of a girl’s journey to make her life her own.
When you’re a teenager living in a strict household, exploring your dreams of following your passion of playing fútbol, forces you to keep secrets. Lots of secrets. This is the life of Camila Hassan, nicknamed La Furia because of her single-minded focus and intensity when she’s playing soccer.
Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez is a multi-layered, engrossing story of what it is to be a young woman in Rosaria, Argentina and chase your hopes when you know that your family would be disappointed and perhaps even scandalized to know the truth. While young women go missing in Rosaria, some found murdered, Camila tries to live as normal and as free of a life as possible. Her brother is the acknowledged star soccer player in the family. But Camila is better, and it’s not just about talent. It’s a quality that some players achieve through dedication and passion.
As the novel begins, things are coming to a head in Camila’s life. Her team has the opportunity to go to a major tournament, that is, if they can keep all of the members of the team. For Camila, the opportunity means coming clean to her parents about the secret she’s been keeping: that she plays soccer and she’s good.
And then there’s the other secret. Camila and hometown hero turned international soccer star, Diego, have a relationship. Or do they? When Diego’s appearance reignites their romance, he becomes another secret that tests her very best friendship.
Saied Méndez balances all of these aspects wonderfully, keeping the reader thoroughly engaged. I rooted for Camila, wanting her to have it all–a soccer career as well as Diego. Camila doesn’t always make the smartest decisions but ultimately she makes the decisions that are right for her and makes amends as she can.
While Furia is ultimately about Camila’s hopes of playing football, it’s also about life in a patriarchal society where abuse and subjugation are common, where women live in fear, and change does not look like its in the offing. But there is hope.
I highly recommend Furia.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 butterflies