I know this sounds lame, but I am so excited to be able to bring you this blog tour today. This was my first physical arc, and I loved the heck out of this story. Furia is absolutely phenomenal, and I hope everyone read this awesome book.
“In this stirring novel by Argentine American author Méndez, passion for sports and personal growth intersect in Camila’s powerful, feminist first-person narrative about her experiences as an ambitious athlete, a teenager deeply in love, the daughter of an abusive father at the point of taking charge of her own life, and a young woman finding her voice in a deeply sexist, patriarchal society… A riveting coming-of-age story.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
Yamile Saied Mendez
Genre: YA Contemporary, Own Voices
Format: Physical ARC from publisher, also received an ARC via NetGalley
Synposis: 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 her talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university, but the path ahead won’t be easy. Her parents, who don’t know about her passion, wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. Meanwhile, the boy she once loved, Diego, is not only back in town, but has also become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Things aren’t the same as when he left: Camila has her own fútbol ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, she is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and passion of a girl like her.
I fell in love with cover. A Latinx young woman on the cover with her natural curls and skin color. Yes. As a latinx person, I was so happy to see this rep on the cover. To see my own face on a book cover is super cool. But there is more to this book than the amazing cover.
Cami is Furia, she is an amazing soccer player. But she can’t tell her family. Her mom and dad want her to be a good daughter, and her brother is too obsessed with his own soccer career. But she sees this sport as a way to go to the US and play in college. She has thoughts and dreams happening, and she will not let anything stand in her way.
The story is well done, and I could not stop reading this book once I had started. I was unfamiliar with Argentina and what it is like. This was a great glimpse into the world outside of the US, something I do not know much about. I was glad to learn more. Argentina seems very scary. Young women are killed, raped, go missing, and are in abusive relationships with horrible men. Teen girls have babies early. It just seems like a culture waiting for a revolution for women, and it starts with Cami. She sees the world as something she can improve, women need to be treated better. There are feminists who march in Argentina to protest the murdered and missing women, fighting for more rights.
This book is feminist and it was fantastic. Cami has a best friend named Roxana, who is also a big feminist and plays with her on the soccer team. She is one the feminists who have the green flag, fighting for the right for women to have an abortion. This is also an issue in the country, it is mentioned slightly in the book. The church and their old school ways vs the modern ways who want more rights and better treatment for women. Both of them play soccer and just doing that is viewed by some people as wrong in their society, but they are fighting against the partiarchy. They also attend a march to remember the younger sister of a friend who was murdered, and I just love how feminist they are and the way the book shows how Argentina needs to change and the ways the next generation is fighting to do so.
There is the love interest, Diego. But he ended up getting on my nerves a lot. He was like the local hero because he is playing soccer in Italy. He comes home, and Cami is all about him. He says he loves her and he does stuff to impress her. He gets her a job teaching English and says she is the love of his life. He even wants to do long distance, but he also makes it seem like his career and Cami just coming to live with him is what she should do with her life. I know he is supposed to be like the hometown hero, but I was not a huge fan of him in the grand scheme of things.
I do not know anything about soccer. I cannot comment a ton about it. There was a lot in this book, and it was interesting to learn about. I was not aware the US has the best Women’s league for soccer, so that’s pretty neat to learn. I would say this would appeal to soccer fans.
Overall, this is an amazing book with so many layers and facets to enjoy. I read it within a day, and I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend this for fans of YA contemporary and OwnVoices, specifically Latinx rep.
4 stars ⭐️
Meet the author:
Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Méndez is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx middle grade and young adult authors. Furia is her first novel for young adult readers.
By Yamile Saied Méndez
Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: September 15, 2020 | ISBN: 9781616209919
$17.95 | 368 pages
Some more information about the book/author:
Born and raised in Rosario, Argentina, the cradle of the some of the world’s greatest soccer players, Yamile Saied Méndez was destined to fall in love with the sport. Social conventions made it impossible for girls to play at home, but Yamile followed Argentinian fútbol religiously even after emigrating to the United States, celebrating from afar the advancements that led to the 2018 professionalism of soccer for girls. Now, in her first novel for YA readers, Méndez makes her triumphant return to Rosario and to her fútbol-obsessed origins with FURIA (Publication Date: September 15, 2020; Ages 14 – 18; Hardcover; $17.95), a powerful, #ownvoices contemporary YA novel. Against the backdrop of the Latin American and Spanish Ni Una Menos feminist movement, FURIA follows a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blossoming romance—to follow her dreams.
Always a voracious reader, as a child Méndez taught herself English with a Spanish/English dictionary, and at the age of nineteen she emigrated to the United States to pursue a degree at Brigham Young University. “Although FURIA isn’t an autobiographical novel, a lot of the events in the book are based on my own life and experiences,” she explains. “I always wanted to be a professional fútbol player, which was impossible at the time. Instead, I became a student of the sport. I’ve followed the developments in Argentine society and fútbol throughout my years of (self) exile from my country, and a conversation about feminine fútbol is impossible without including the fight of the feminist movement in Argentina throughout our history. FURIA is a love letter to my city, and I hope that readers will fall in love with Rosario and fútbol.” A graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA, Méndez is also a founding member of Las Musas, a marketing collective of women and non-binary Latinx children’s authors. She has coached and managed multiple youth soccer teams, and she lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two dogs, and one cat.
Filled with the authentic details and textures of day-to-day life in Argentina, heart-soaring romance, and breathless action, FURIA is the riveting, radiant story of one girl’s struggle to rise above the expectations her family and society have for her.
A huge thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Please take the time to support this OwnVoices book and find out how amazing it is. I can’t wait to get my finished copy soon and tell all my friends to read this. I would love to know if you’re picking up Furia for yourself. Let me know!