Monday, May 8, 2017

The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers

Happy Monday, readers! I hope you're all heading into a fantastic week!

Life as the daughter of a famous telenovela actress is hard. Obviously Cammi doesn't want for anything materialistic - she lives in a big house, has her own chauffeur and guard, and has tons of other "perks." No, it's making friends that's Cammi's problem. Friends that don't want an in with her mom and the industry. Friends that are friends in more than just name. 

So when her mom lands a role in LA, and Cammi and her father go along for the ride, a spot in a new school where no one knows her seems like a great place for a new start. But when Cammi lets her new friends roll with their assumptions - that she's a scholarship student whose mom works as a maid, things start to get a little sticky. Sure, this new role of Cammi's comes with none of the glamorous assumptions she's used to, but are the lies worth it?

Veronica Chambers tackles a lot of issues in her latest. It's a look inside Cammi's world, growing up as the daughter of a famous actress in Mexico. And as mentioned, Cammi has it all - at least in terms of material possessions. But she's much more grounded than the rest of her peers, thanks in no small part to her older brother. So for Cammi, it's not the things or the money that are all that important.

But while making friends who aren't using her for her mom is important to Cammi, her efforts in that regard go greatly awry.

At first, her new life in America is awkward. She befriends the school chef, something her parents don't understand and actively discourage at first. So when two of her classmates approach her, assuming that working in the school cafeteria is required as part of her being there, she doesn't correct them. The lies are her way of hiding who she is, but she soon realizes that these friends are no better than the ones she left behind.

And what kid hasn't wondered what it would be like to start fresh in a new school? To reinvent themselves and see how different things can be?

Identity is the key to this tale in more than one way. Cammi's identity, real and assumed, as far as school and friends are concerned. But also her identity as an immigrant. Cammi is a character split between two worlds: Mexico and LA. That becomes even more clear when a character refers to Cammi as Mexican-American, something she grapples with briefly but sticks in the reader's mind for sure. It isn't quite as effective as it could be, however, because for Cammi life in America isn't expected to be permanent. I don't think the question of Mexico Cammi vs American Cammi and the expectations of her parents and such is explored quite as in depth as it could be as a result.

I think this is the first time I've read a story like this from the perspective of a character who comes from a privileged background. It makes for a light and entertaining read, while still broaching important topics. That said, again I didn't feel it held quite as much weight as counterparts because Cammi always has an out.

All in all, The Go-Between is fun and breezy. Great for one-sitting summer reading!

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