Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez | Freshman Summer Reading Option

Friday, July 9, 2021

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez 

Published by Algonquin Young Readers, September 15, 2020

Genre: YA (Popcorn)

Format: I audiobooked this one via purchased Audible

I picked up Furia as it's one of our summer reading options this year for honors freshman literature. Even though I labeled this "YA Beach," there's almost enough literary merit here to call it YA Literature. I really enjoyed this book.

1. The main character, Camila, also called Furia, is a strong woman. Furia's brother and childhood friend/romantic interest are both soccer stars, and Méndez uses the contrast of their success and attitudes with Furia's to show the position of female athletes in Argentina and in futbol altogether. Sol Matariaga, Argentinian theatre star, narrates the audiobook, and her vocal performance captured my attention from the first paragraph. Through the writing and Madariaga's performance, Furia was charming, conflicted, determined, authentic, and passionate about soccer.

2. Through Furia, Méndez questions what's possible and ultimately thanks those that help her along her journey. On her way to practice one day, Furia encounters a youth on the street selling cards for Catholic patron saints. Even though she has very little money, Furia buys a card for the patron saint of impossible causes. Furia sees her culture, her parents, her injuries, as the gatekeepers of her dreams of playing professional soccer. In spite of the challenges she faces, Furia hides from her parents, gathers strength from stories of strong family members of the past, treks across town to practices, fights to recover from injuries, and continues to hope that reaching her goals is possible.

3. This book is full of style. The author incorporates Spanish phrases, local songs, soccer facts, realistic dialogue, realistic, complicated relationships. 

I loved learning a little about Argentina through Furia. As much as she wants to travel internationally to play soccer professionally, she also truly loves her home in Rosario, Argentina. Furia describes the poverty---the cinder block houses, the neighborhood children pretending a donkey is a horse--but she speaks of home as someone does who loves her hometown. "I left Rosario," she notes, "but Rosario has not left me." 


"Lies have short legs. I learned this proverb before I could speak." 

"The sense of wonder and possibility--that I owed the Argentine women who had fought for freedom before the universe conspired and the stars aligned to make me . . . I wanted to gather the stars so that when I was in my apartment I could paste the Southern Cross on the ceiling. That way, I'd never be lost." 

"No one can stop me but myself, and I'm never going to stop." 


There are books that take you on a voyage, and this is one. I loved seeing what life might be like as an Argentinian teen, as a passionate athlete.

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