ARC Review – Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

I am several days late with this review (sorry, Algonquin!), but I am SO EXCITED to tell you about this book! I’ve never read anything like it, and I just want more. This was a blog tour I couldn’t pass up, even though I’ve been busy! And it’s Reese’s YA book club pick for September, too!

In Furia, Camila Hassan is an Argentinian teenager who just wants to be a futbolera – a woman who plays soccer as her career – but she can’t get that in her hometown of Rosario, Argentina. Her father is strict and abusive, believing that women should know their place, and her mother is meek and bends to the will of her husband. Her brother, Pablo, is playing soccer professionally with the local team, and her childhood love, Diego, is playing professionally in Italy. And all Camila “la Furia” Hassan wants to do is join them.

But being a futbolera is something that Camila keeps from her family. Her brother knows, but he’s never seen her play. She has to sneak around in order to practice – her parents think she is taking extra study classes in order to go to medical school – and she gets a job to start squirreling money away so she can pay to go the South American championship tournament, which could be her chance to be scouted to play in the US professional league, or maybe for a college team. It’s all she wants.

But all Diego wants is Camila, and he’s willing to go to near the ends of the earth for her. And then once he sees her play? He wants to help, but he also wants to be with her and wants her to come to Italy with him.

And what does Camila want? Everything. She wants everything. But her lies are beginning to catch up with her.


3 Things I Loved

  1. Camila. Camila was a very powerful main character. She knows what she wants, and she knows just how hard she has to work in order to have a sliver of a chance to achieve it. I wanted the world for her from practically the very first page of the book.
  2. Futbol. I’ve never read soccer on the page like this before! I knew it was life to most of South America, but reading it, reading the fame that can come from it, was interesting and made me want so many more books like this.
  3. Argentina. This was a struggle for me. I love reading books that take place in places I’ve never visited. It’s a way to travel without leaving my home. And Argentina sounded magical in a lot of ways. But also poor, and sad. It reminded me a lot of the barrios I would see in Puerto Rico, which was a poverty I’d never really known until I lived there. Again, I want more books like this. I want to see the real life of people living in countries we can’t really imagine without seeing it. Because through the eyes of Camila, I could see everything.

Dislikes/Problematic Content

Oof.

I’m not an expert on South America at all, and definitely know very little of Argentinian culture. But it seems pretty universal that Camila has been abused by her father for her entire life. Probably not physically, although he broke her fucking door down on the page, which was very WTF for me. But the abuse, the belittling – it clearly started with him speaking to her mother that way, and then he’s moved onto Camila now that she’s a teenager. It’s gross. And honestly, the worst part is that Pablo, Camila’s brother, started emulating their father in the book, and that SUCKS. But it’s also how the world works. But we can have the nature vs. nurture debate in another blog post, ha.

Aside from what was going on in her home, it was also clear that women in Argentina are marginalized like NOBODY’S BUSINESS. Throughout the book, they talk about girls who are going missing, who end up on posters. And Camila keeps talking about how she isn’t going to become a poster girl, a missing girl. It’s something that’s in the back of your mind throughout the whole book, let me tell you.

All of these things are probably very accurate portrayals of Argentinian culture that were a little shocking to me, as a very privileged person growing up in the Midwest of the United States. I try to keep that in mind as I read, but it’s hard for me to let some things go. If I’m vastly wrong in any assessment I make, please correct me. In these COVID times, I’m only allowed to travel in books, so I’m doing my best. ❤


Rating

A reminder of the rating scale:

  • Red = DNF, I hated everything
  • Orange = Ugh, no thank you
  • Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
  • Green = This was good! 
  • Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
  • Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!

This was such a good book. It was a TRIP to see such a powerful young woman fighting against everything people have stacked in front of her. I want more books like this, and I’m so thankful I got the chance to read an advanced copy of this one! I’m giving Furia a BLUE rating! More books like this, please!


Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour! Sorry I’m late, but it was only because I was so busy but also so in love with the book that I couldn’t skip the review.

Happy reading!

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