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What Can't Wait (Carolrhoda Ya) Hardcover – March 1, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ashley Hope Pérez grew up in Texas and served in the Teach for America Corps in a neighborhood similar to the one depicted in her debut novel, What Can't Wait. She has worked as a translator and is completing a PhD in comparative literature. She spends most of her time reading, writing, listening to audiobooks, and teaching college classes on vampire literature and Latin-American women writers. For fun, she bakes cookies and runs. She lives in Indiana with her husband, Arnulfo, and their son, Liam Miguel.
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Product Details

  • Series: Carolrhoda Ya
  • Hardcover: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761361553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761361558
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 6.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,089,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Blythe Woolston on March 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I used to teach at a university. Many of my students were the first in their family to go to "school." Some of them were single parents who had to bring their kids to class when the baby sitter didn't show. Others were SOTAs--Students Over Traditional Age--who were juggling families, jobs, aging parents, and dead-end jobs.

What Can(t) Wait is a book those students would have appreciated. They would have loved Marisa. They would have understood the love she lavishes on her little niece, even though childcare eats the time she should spend studying. Those students were always struggling with the everyday math of not enough money and not enough time. They would have understood the hard choices Marisa faces--choices that pit the present against the future.

I'm not a book reviewer, but I felt compelled to share this with you: What Can(t) Wait rings true. It doesn't soften the sharp edges of economic reality, it brings them into focus through the lens of Marisa's life.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was inspired to write a review when I read the ridiculous one star review listed for this YA novel. This is an wonderful YA work! I have taught honors high school English and one of my favorite experiences is watching students fall in love with new authors and titles. This book will no doubt be one of those titles that will speak to many students (and has! I have already had several students fall in love with this new author).

The characters are more than simple projections of ethnicity. They come alive on Perez's pages and remind the reader than the markers of race, cultural background, socio-economic status, or family life situation, cannot diminish the hope or possibility of a young person's personal narrative. The story is a poignant look into the very real life of every student's insecurities as they consider the journey of life that lies ahead. Perez's characters face the trials of teen pregnancy, challenges of family strife, and difficulties of school and social demands, and yet still emerge on the other side of their trials with hope for the future and respect for the past.

Although the main character is Hispanic, this story speaks students from ANY culture and anyone who reads this work hoping it will define ALL Mexican American journeys or Hispanic narratives might not understand the endless variety existing in the category of multicultural literature. This story serves as one example of many. Variety is needed to help define this genre. I am delighted to see that Perez has added this growing genre, giving students a beautiful narrative with which they might be able to identify. My hope is that many will read What Can(t) Wait - a touching tale of strength that will help give rise to a generation that supports and respects the narratives of others.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was an amazing book, especially from a first time author. It deals with the very real world of the hispanic adolescent girl in a traditional mexican family... life at school, work and home and the assorted problems at each setting. The author has the ability to draw the reader into the story and make you care about the characters. This is a book that all ages would enjoy. I am certainly hoping that Ms. Perez will write a follow-up book to complete the story.
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Format: Hardcover
As a high school senior, Marisa Moreno had some difficult choices to make about what lay ahead. Adding to the complexity of her decision-making process, Marisa carried an enormous workload and conflicting expectations from the adults who mattered most in her life. Not only did she attend school all day and work hard to keep up her grades, Marisa also helped watch her young niece every day after school, prepared meals at home for her family, and she worked as many hours as possible at the local grocery store to help her parents pay the bills.

Her parents placed an extremely high priority on Marisa's contributions to the family, to the point that they showed no interest in her school performance and actively discouraged her from pursuing a college education. Marisa's favorite teacher, however, saw great potential in Marisa's mathematical ability, and she strongly urged Marisa to apply to the University of Texas at Austin to study engineering. Marisa could not even begin to tell Ms. Ford how difficult it was to find time to study, not to mention apply to a school her family could not afford in a city three hours from Houston. Nor could she get through to her parents how much she wanted to embark on her own life and stop taking care of everyone else.

This expertly spun debut novel by Ashley hope Pérez combines a compelling plot with substantive content that is rich in economics ideas and cultural context. The notions of budget constraints, caring labor, and investments in human capital regularly appear as motivating forces in the characters' lives. The focus on a Mexican American family and a predominantly Latino school adds an important dimension to the book and helps it to stand out from other novels about high school angst.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book with my daughter, as it was assigned by her teacher. I had no idea how close it would hit to home. I am a Houstonian, and a former HISD teacher from the inner city, working with these same kids. It is eerie how accurate the author portrays Marisa's life. Congrats on an excellent debut.
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