Review: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Blog post of a book review of Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez.

Premise

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.

My review – spoiler free

A contemporary novel set in Argentina, that’s always a refresher. Most of the YA contemporaries published by an English publisher are set in the US or the UK, so it’s always a lovely expierence to read a book set outside the US or the UK, in this case Argentina. By reading this book you already learn so much about Argentinian culture, and it’s always amazing to learn something new by reading a book. Another nice extra was the Spanish that was occasionally thrown in, it made the book and the story feel so much more real.

Our main character Camila is a fierce young woman, something you come across quite a lot in YA novels. However, Furia brought a fresh type of fierce female lead with Camila. She fought for her own rights by playing football, by doing what she loves to do the most. Throughout the entire book there were themes of feminism, but unlike other books that have similar feminism themes, the main character can’t speak freely about those topics. That was an interesting perspective to follow for once, instead of the girls who keep screaming what they want.

There was unfortunately also downer with the feminism aspects in the book. They were rather prominent at the beginning, and certainly at the end, but in the middle of the book it seemed like the author kind of forgot about feminism. And that alligns a bit with the whole reading experience of Furia. The beginning and the end were very good, but the middle of the book fell a bit flat. The reason for that was that the author seemed to forget what she was writing a book about. The beginning set up these clear feminism themes, the football aspect and Camila’s home life, and in the end those topics came back.

However, the entire middle part of the book was the romance plot line. At the beginning Furia really felt like a breath of fresh air in the YA genre, but unfortunately it lost that feeling once the romance became so prominent in the book. The romance was definitely still interesting and needed to be there for the plot, but in the middle it overshadowed the other aspects of the book a bit too much.

The middle of the book was overall just the weakest part. Not only the story line, but also the writing was rather weak in the middle. At the beginning the book reads really quickly and the author makes some amazing word and structure choices. However, near the middle the writing was rather awkward. Within one paragraph the book jumps from one thing to another, to another, which is never nice to read. At the same time there were some chapters that had too many short scenes within one chapter. Those scenes should have been a bit longer and then the chapter could’ve been divided in two or three chapters, which would have made more sense.

But once again, the beginning and the ending of Furia were so strong and overall it was still a very good read. It’s just such a pity that the middle of the book could have used a bit more editing to make it perfect.

Overall I gave Furia 3.5 out of 5 stars, and I still fully recommend this book if you’re into YA contemporary and want to explore a bit more from the world than just the US and the UK.

Disclaimer: I was gifted an e-copy of this by the publisher via Netgalley, but all opinions stated in this review are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author.

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