At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme. On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
I knew this book was queer (f/f to be exact), so it was already on my list of books that I want read. Though, the absolute adoration and love I’ve seen from some of my friends about this book shot it right to the top of books to read. Marriage to rise above, secrets that need to be kept, and a resistance group needing Dani’s help made it sound like this book was going to be incredible and I couldn’t wait to read it!
Every single drop of praise I’ve seen sung about this book is extremely well earned. I feel in love with this book and I’m so, so glad that I finally picked it up.
The way this book is written made it easy to fly through this book. It’s flowy and it’s obvious how talented Mejia is.
I really, really loved how this world is set up. Men of high status have two wives. The Primera, a girl of logic and someone to help him run his career. The Segunda, a girl of emotion and someone to raise their children. These men of high status run their world, and themselves, on greed and prejudice. Rebellion brews in their world, and it comes knocking at Dani’s door. This world has it’s painful parts, but there’s also a beauty to it. The people who want to fight to make it better, the people who want to make sure everybody is cared for. Mejia wove together a world that was intriguing and amazing, and something I loved.
I fell in love with both Dani and Carmen (and of course Hermanito the caterpillar). Dani is supposed to be completely calm, poised, and logical at all times. But, her emotions bubble beneath the surface. I loved seeing the way her emotions simmer under the heat of her circumstances. She puts on so many different masks for the people around her, that seeing what she is really feeling feels like an honor and a secret. I also loved Carmen. She’s a whirlwind of emotion and of passion. I loved how her character bloomed like a flower as the book went on and more is revealed.
There were also minor characters here and there. The ones I fell in love with actually didn’t have huge roles in this book, but I’m very intrigued by them. I feel like there’s something deeper to them and even with the little I know of them, I still really, really love them.
There were also other characters, but they were awful. This just goes to show how good a writer Mejia is, because they were supposed to be awful!
This books is gorgeously written. It’s a book about fighting about a better life for people, about the pull of loyalty, about the burn of fire between two girls, about a world corrupt with greed and prejudice, and about the rebellion fighting for change. This book is a spark that burns, that lights, and one that I highly, highly recommend you give a try!
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