this is not a personal statement by tracy badua // book review

Hey, fellow ramblers! Wow, it’s been a while since I typed that greeting. Almost eight months, in fact. But I’m so happy to be drafting a post again, especially a review of an amazing book (which also hasn’t happened in a long time). Since my schedule looks freer for the next few months, let’s cross our fingers and hope I become more consistent! Without further ado, here is This Is Not a Personal Statement by Tracy Badua!

Author: Tracy Badua

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

Release Date: January 17th, 2023

Published by: Quill Tree Books

From rising star Tracy Badua comes a poignant, propulsive standalone YA novel about a teen who, after getting rejected from her dream college, forges her own acceptance and commits to living a lie—perfect for fans of Mary H.K. Choi and Gloria Chao. An incisive, relatable tale of acceptance, self-discovery, and the infinite possibilities that await when we embrace our imperfections. As the youngest graduating senior at her hypercompetitive high school, Perla Perez is certain all the late nights, social isolation, and crushing stress will be worth it when she gets into the college of her (and her parents’) dreams: Delmont University. Then Perla doesn’t get in, and her meticulously planned future shatters. In a panic, she forges her own acceptance letter, and next thing she knows, she’s heading to Delmont for real, acceptance or not. Perla’s plan? Gather on-the-ground intel to beef up her application and reapply spring semester before she’s caught. But as her guilty conscience grows and campus security looms large, Perla starts to wonder if her plan will really succeed, and if this dream she’s worked for her entire life is something she even wants.

This Is Not a Personal Statement follows Perla (aka Perlie) Perez as she gets entangled in a web of lies that she creates when she finds out she didn’t get into her dream university. With the constant pressure she’s subjected to through her parents as well as the fact that she’s an academic prodigy and is heading to college at just sixteen, this book put me through a rollercoaster of emotions.

Rejection is a very real thing, that all of us face in our lives. We all have different ways of coping with it, and although Perla’s way was a little crazy, it’s exactly what made this book so enjoyable, because let’s be honest, I could never do what she did. Reading about the whirlwind of a journey she had was such a great experience. Perla was also a relatable character, in the way that I understood her crave for academic validation and her need to make her parents proud. Though it was mainly a character driven book, it did a fantastic job of keeping me hooked and wanting to read the next chapter.

A part of me was rooting for Perla, but a part of me also wanted her to get caught and face the consequences. I definitely feel like the concept of the overbearing parents is one many readers relate to, and coupled with the Filipino representation, it made for a great read.

Another thing I liked was the depth that the author gave Perla’s personality, because on one hand, you really empathise with her and understand why she’s doing what she’s doing, but on the other, you’re internally screaming at her to stop. The family dynamic was well executed, and I do think it was pretty realistic. As for the side characters, I do think they could have been developed more individually, but their role in Perla’s character arc was certainly very well written and overall, they added a lot to the story.

I would recommend this for anyone who is looking for a fun, and a little crazy read or for anyone who is all for letting your intrusive thoughts take over.

I used to joke that living in Monte Verde is like living in a pressure cooker, but that isn’t all that funny. I’m only beginning to unravel the ways in which this entire school complex – my family included – enforced these unrealistic expectations on us. […] We’ve just been struggling to find our own ways to work with the dysfunction.

And that’s all for today’s post! What did you think? Have you read This Is Not a Personal Statement? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!


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