The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers (Review)

32673416Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Summary: She is the envy of every teenage girl in Mexico City. Her mother is a glamorous telenovela actress. Her father is the go-to voice-over talent for blockbuster films. Hers is a world of private planes, chauffeurs, paparazzi and gossip columnists. Meet Camilla del Valle Cammi to those who know her best.

When Cammi s mom gets cast in an American television show and the family moves to LA, things change, and quickly. Her mom s first role is playing a not-so-glamorous maid in a sitcom. Her dad tries to find work but dreams about returning to Mexico. And at the posh, private Polestar Academy, Cammi s new friends assume she s a scholarship kid, the daughter of a domestic.

At first Cammi thinks playing along with the stereotypes will be her way of teaching her new friends a lesson. But the more she lies, the more she wonders: Is she only fooling herself?

My thoughts: The Go-Between had such promise when I first picked up the novel and managed to finish it in one sitting. It was a quick contemporary novel showcasing the life of a teenage heiress whose parents are both celebrities in Mexico. They are living a comfortable live in Mexico until Cammi’s mother gets an acting job in L.A., uprooting the family to go live in America. There, Cammi attends a new school where students place stereotypes on her because of her Mexican nationality, and, in order to maintain a front, Cammi accepts and plays along with these harmful stereotypes for fun.

In the beginning, this book had so much potential when it follows the life of Cammi when she lives in Mexico. But once she moves to America, the stereotypes, micro-aggressions, and cliche tropes were inserted into the novel in a, frankly, insulting way. Yes, immigrants do have to deal with the endless amounts of disgusting comments said by racist people, but this novel took it to a whole other level when showcasing it in the narrative. This novel does not have good Latinx (specifically Mexican) representation. In fact, I would encourage Latinx readers to avoid this novel because it contains such gross language that the main character played along with for fun!

Rather than denouncing the American characters’ racist comments and views, Cammi simply accepts what they say and pretends to be a poor high school immigrant for the sake of living up to the American’s views on Mexicans. She plays along simply because it’s fun and she knows that, no matter what the high school kids think, she is privileged, thanks to her wealthy parents. This is incredibly harmful because the main character takes the entire novel to tell her friends that they acted racist towards her for majority of their friendship. By playing along with the stereotype of being a poor Mexican immigrant, simply because she can, Cammi is insulting people who are poor and have to face derogatory comments thrown their way every day because of their class and ethnicity. Rather than educating her friends from the start about how they are racist towards Mexicans, Cammi lets them spew out hurtful comments about Latinx throughout majority of the novel.

Not only does this novel perpetuate insulting stereotypes towards Latinx people, it also appropriates Native American traditions when the American high school imitates a Native American council by using a “talking stick” and calling out “A-ho” after everyone speaks. This novel also makes fun of multiple personality disorders, as well, in the narrative in a derogatory way. 

Overall, this is a story that I would avoid at all costs because it is offensive to those that are supposed to be represented in this novel. This story could have been amazing, if Cammi only educated and denounced her American friends who placed harmful stereotypes on her from the beginning. But instead, we received a story about a Mexican character who embraced these gross micro-aggressions simply because she was bored.

Book Info: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

* I RECEIVED A PHYSICAL COPY OF THIS NOVEL FROM THE PUBLISHER IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. THANK YOU! *

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