Mariana Ruiz wanted to be an actor when she was eight. Her parents seem to think that she hasn’t grown at all since then and act as if she loves the constant spotlight on her family. It’s only natural that people would watch her every move since her father is running for president. All Mariana wants is some privacy, but she can’t even ask for that apparently. With her parents constantly telling her that the openness to the public is for the good of the campaign, she feels like they aren’t even listening to her. To make things worse, her best friend Vivi is moving to Miami Beach. She has to switch schools and leave Mariana to deal with this all on her own. As her distaste for the situation grows, she learns more and more about her father’s beliefs, which she begins to question. Mariana has to be careful though, because the whole country is watching what she will do next.
I liked the premise of the book, it seemed interesting, and I was not disappointed. I could feel the pressure that Mariana’s parents had placed on her shoulders and the author succeeded in making it feel unfair. You can feel Mariana’s perspective on her family change as she begins to find her own opinion. I think the only complaint I have about this book is how Mariana doesn’t seem to truly know her father’s beliefs. She somehow lived with this person for years, she even says later how he sometimes said some questionable things, and yet she never put the two together. It doesn’t seem likely that a fifteen-year-old would be this oblivious to her own father’s beliefs. The book often states that their parents keep them out of politics, but this story is set in a hazy modern day when the internet is very much a thing. This wasn’t totally unbelievable, but it was not totally believable either. This one problem doesn’t ruin the entire book though, I still think it’s a pretty good book.
The thing that I think was the most memorable was the way the author wrote Mariana. Every complaint Mariana had felt completely understandable. Even though she had a lot of grievances, she never felt whiney or spoiled. She just sounded like a completely reasonable person. Personally, my father never has run for president, but I was still able to relate to Mariana. Even though I kinda complained about this earlier, Mariana discovering what her father actually believed in was interesting to read. I really like well-written characters and Mariana was not a disappointment!
Reviewed by Elaine, Twin Hickory Library