cover image This Is Not a Personal Statement

This Is Not a Personal Statement

Tracy Badua. Quill Tree, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06321-775-1

Sixteen-year-old high school senior Perla Perez has lived her life according to the high expectations of her immigrant Filipino parents and her competitive high school. When she isn’t accepted into her dream university, Delmont, or any other school she applied to, her carefully curated plan for college and her reputation as “Perfect Perlie Perez” seem doomed to fall apart. But Perla prides herself in always having a plan. After successfully faking her acceptance, she heads off to Delmont anyway, determined to cover her tracks by draining her savings and secretly living on campus in an unused dorm room, and planning to reapply for Delmont’s spring semester. At Delmont, she experiences a sense of freedom previously unknown, but as her lies begin to snowball, threatening to undo all of Perla’s increasingly intricate double life, she finds that even her unconventional first semester at college is plagued by her family’s constant pressure and her seemingly inescapable feelings of loneliness. Attentively examining themes of guilt and outside pressures with cultural nuance and plenty of good-humored scheming, Badua (Freddie vs. the Family Curse) cultivates a high-stakes narrative of self-discovery and the dangers in pursuing perfection. Ages 13–up. Agent: Natalie Lakosil, Irene Goodman Literary. (Jan.)