Book Reviews

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez: ARC Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Published September 15th, 2020 by Workman Publishing.

My rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

An #ownvoices contemporary YA set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.

In Rosario, Argentina, 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 those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

Content Warnings: domestic violence

Thank you to the publisher, Workman Audio, and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this audiobook. All thoughts are my own.

“The rest of my life is a mess, but at least on the pitch I get to do what I love.”

Camila is a 17-year-old Argentinian girl with her eyes set on achieving the practically impossible: going to North America for university on an athletic scholarship.

Surrounded by men and a society that doesn’t believe a woman can succeed as an athlete, Camila lives a secret life: that of La Furia, a promising fútbol player who may just have enough talent and perseverance to make it. But to get any further, she’ll need the support of her parents, both of whom no nothing of her playing.

To make matters more complicated, her ex-flame is back in town after moving to Italy to play fútbol professionally. And he has his eyes set on rekindling their relationship… but Camila is more hesitant. She has ambitions of her own… ones that don’t account for her having a boyfriend who lives in Italy.

💥 What a powerful read! 💥

Furia is first and foremost a tale of female empowerment; and a story steeped in rich cultural relevance. I can’t recommend this novel highly enough!

Told from the perspective of a fiery, hardworking and highly motivated 17-year-old girl, the daily life of a young woman living in Argentina is explored; with important discussions of domestic abuse, violence against women, and the pañuelazo movement thoughtfully depicted throughout. And despite the inclusion of such heavy topics – or likely in fact because of them – Saied Méndez manages to craft a heartfelt, emotionally-driven and, above all else, inspirational story for young women everywhere.

Camila was the perfect protagonist for a story like this! Both deeply caring and strongly fierce, Camila is the heart and soul of this novel, and her struggle is told in a way that despite who you are or where you come from you can immediately relate to and empathize with her struggles.

It is impossible not to root for her as she pushes for her goals. I felt terrified, devastated and overjoyed in turn along with her as she worked hard and, despite all the odds, managed to achieve all that she had set out to do.

Camila, and in turn Saied Méndez – the woman who brought this incredible character to life – is an inspiration! One I believe all girls could benefit from hearing the story of. 🧡🔥

“Fútbol is life, but so is love, and so is family.”

What books have inspired you?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

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