Q&A with Erika Sánchez, Author of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

The New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award finalist I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez is seriously upping our shelf game with its oh-so-relatable main character, and honest yet funny story line. Plus, now it's available in paperback!

Check out this Q&A with author Erika Sánchez, where she tells us more about her inspiration, what it means to be a "perfect Mexican daughter," and why she wanted to write this important book.

1. The characters in I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter are so relatable. Are they based on people in your life?

Some of them are, but it’s impossible to say what is “true” and what isn’t, or draw exact parallels between characters and real people. Many are a fictionalized hodgepodge of people and experiences. Friends and family may see snippets of themselves.

2. Do you see yourself in Julia? Did you grow up around any perfect Mexican daughters? How has that image shaped your life or the lives of other women you know?

Like Julia, I was a troubled and sarcastic kid, but I joke that she’s smarter and funnier than I ever was. She’s also experienced more trauma than I have. But undoubtedly, there are pieces of myself in Julia. I didn’t grow up with an Olga of my own, but I was very aware of what was expected of me, and that I failed on every level. I never wanted to be perfect. Lots of Mexican American girls grow up feeling like they don’t live up to their family’s expectations.

3. Why did you want to write a YA book?

It was important for me that the book be geared toward young people because I didn’t have a story like this when I was growing up.

4. Do you have any unique writing habits? What is your process like?

I pace around my apartment listening to Philip Glass. Sometimes I get jittery and short of breath. It’s very much a physical experience for me. I don’t keep cookies at home because I would eat them all! Also, I have an antler on my desk.

5. Who is your all-time favorite author?

If we’re talking fiction, Toni Morrison.

6. What was your most embarrassing moment as a teen?

Goodness, how do I pick just one? Life itself felt like an embarrassment. I used to cut my own hair, and once I really messed up my bob by shaving the back with my dad’s clippers. It looked awful and it was right before the homecoming dance.

7. What is a fun fact about you that your readers might not know?

I’m currently teaching creative writing at Princeton, and I love it!

What question would you ask your favorite author? Tell us in the comments below!

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  1. mahamk

    This is the great book by Erika Sánchez. She has defined the most heart touching story in this book. I am also an author, I mostly writes academic books. but now I am writing a about the Pakistan northern areas tour to promote the tourism places in Pakistan.

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  2. j_li1200

    nice 🙂

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  3. j_li1200

    Good! ^o^

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  4. j_li1200

    I feel like I can relate to this. The feeling that teens feel.

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  5. jessicabrown

    Appreciated! what I have to say as nursing essay writing assistant is, basically the whole Idea behind the story is summary & study guide with full information and analysis to help you understand the book A very tiny list of mental health resources, especially for teens, follows the last chapter. I enjoyed a the whole story within a single session.

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