Book Review: What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope PerezWhat Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez
on March 1st 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Emigration & Immigration, Adolescence, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

“Another day finished,gracias a Dios.”
Seventeen-year-old Marisa’s mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. An ordinary life—marrying a neighborhood guy, working, having babies—ought to be good enough for her.

Marisa hears something else from her calc teacher. She should study harder, ace the AP test, and get into engineering school in Austin. Some days, it all seems possible. On others, she’s not even sure what she wants.

When her life at home becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn’t sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn’t end each day thanking God it’s over.

But some things just can’t wait…

After reading Forever YA‘s review of What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez, I knew I needed to hop on Netgalley and immediately request an egalley. Kids What Can’t Wait is worth the brief amount of time it will take to read. I read about 200 pages of it at work, and when I got home, instead of reading something on my kindle or an actual book, I hopped back on netgalley to finish the book on the computer screen. Those of you who have had the misfortune of reading a book on the computer screen probably know the type of dedication that takes. Obviously a book has to be damn good to put up with that backlight, AND all the scrolling, as my computer is a netbook.

What Can’t Wait follows the life of 17 year old Marisa. She is this high school senior in Houston, Texas who is Mexican-American. She’s what professionals call at-risk, meaning she comes from a poor family where no one holds an advanced degree, her school is not so great, and people around her are getting pregnant young. However, Marisa is resilient. She has all of these obstacles in her life, yet she refuses to let them knock her down.

I don’t often read books with lower class main characters. I mean, I like those books but more often than not the characters I read are upper middle class. It’s so awesome to read about Marisa who I share a few similarities with. My parents are working class with no college degree. Just like Marisa. Marisa’s parents want her to attend the local college, stay home and continue to work. When Marisa expresses interest in going to University of Texas in Austin, her parents flip out because it is far away. Holy crap do I know the feeling. Unlike, Marisa, I ended up going to college 40 minutes away instead of 3 hours away.

This is a book which perfectly exemplifies the line children must draw between family loyalty and self-loyalty. Emotions run very strong as Marisa has to decide between staying home to earn for her family or breaking away to do something for herself. And, like, the thing is, from the outside her family situation straight up sucks. I wanted to be like, yo your dumb sister got herself into that mess, let her get herself out. Don’t be babysitter. Don’t give all your money over to your parents. However, I know should my real life come down to that, I would be there for my family in a heartbeat, as devoted as Marisa. I think it’s so easy to judge when you are standing on the outside observing and not actually living the situation. I love how much food for thought What Can’t Wait gave me.

Not to mention all of the emotions I felt. At one point Marisa is fighting with a family member, and of course, I started tearing up. I had to actually take a few breaths so I would not straight up bawl in public. Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is a fair amount of swoon, as Marisa gets with a nice guy who actually respects her and works hard. See kids, nice guys don’t always finish last.

If your heart has room for a math-loving, resilient, conflicted character, you need to pick up What Can’t Wait. It won’t take you most of your life to read. It will take you the better part of an afternoon, but it’s worth it for the gamut of emotions you will run.

Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley.

Other Reviews of What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez:

The Happy Nappy Book Seller
Reading In Color
Marjolein Book Blog
Confessions Of A Bibliovore
Bookworm 1858

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Wow. Me and Marisa have a LOT in common! Except for the fact that I’m not Mexican-American… Thanks for putting this book on my radar!

  2. Thanks for reviewing WHAT CAN’T WAIT, April! I do love to hear my readers’ thoughts. And @ Hafsah: family loyalty versus being true to oneself… it’s something many of us can relate to.