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Racism, class, and betrayal collide in this poignant debut novel about restoring the broken bonds of family and friendshipEvery morning, seventeen year old Maria Ans Rosario takes the subway an hour from her boisterous and close knit family in Queens to her private high school on the Upper East Side, where she struggles to fit in as one of the only Latina studentsuntil Rocky welcomes her into this new life White, rebellious, and ignored by her wealthy parents, Rocky uses her money toward one goal to get away with anything To Maria, its a dazzling privilegeAs a bond develops between these unlikely friends, neither can see what they share mostjealousy and the desire for each others lives But crackling under the surface of their seemingly supportive alliance, the girls begin to commit little betrayals as they strive to get closer to their ideals regardless of the consequencesTold from the perspectives of Maria, Rocky, and their fathers, They Could Have Named Her Anything explores the heartfelt expectation of what it means to live up to the name youve been given and the rewarding discovery of what really matters

15 thoughts on “They Could Have Named Her Anything: A Novel (English Edition)

  1. Customer Customer says:

    I chose this book from the First Reads list because several reviews said it was well written And it is But it went somewhere that crossed a line, for me.Maria defies her math teacher in class by sitting in a different seat than the one she was assigned This act draws the attention another girl in class, Rocky Rocky invites Maria to come to her house after school, and thus begins their relationship The author captures the relationship between these two high school seniors and their friends, boyfriends, college admissions, gossip drama angst well But the story took a darker turn that crossed a line, for me It s something that might not bother other readers, and that s okay It just didn t work for me.SPOILER ALERT.BIG SPOILERS.Maria has a sexual relationship with Charlie, Rocky s father For Charlie, Maria reminds him of a woman he knew growing up A woman that was part of his first sexual experience For Maria, Charlie represents money Money for college tuition and to pay some her family s debts they ve fallen on tough times after her father was fired Charlie s money is a better option for Maria than working at Taco Bell or cleaning houses with her mother.Charlie takes Maria away to his other house so they can be alone A 2 hour drive one way But promises to have Maria home that night so her mother won t worry Secrets and lies.never a good beginning to any relationship They re caught with their pants down literally by Rocky and her latest hook up The book ends rather quickly and a bit awkwardly after that Like I said above, some people may have no problem with this storyline But it s not for me.

  2. LJK LJK says:

    I could not stop reading this and was often reminded of what I always liked about The Bonfire of the Vanities how several well crafted New York stories are fitted tightly together into one narrative to pack a dramatic and memorable punch The writing was strong the ideas were hefty the characters felt real and there was emotional weight that kept momentum from beginning to end I finished They Could Have Called Her Anything in almost no time, and I d definitely like to see from this author.

  3. lovestoread lovestoread says:

    I appreciated a lot of this book and could tell she was part Puerto Rican at least early on I understand what it is like to have two parents who speak different dialects of the same language and how that can affect the child s learning of it I was shocked with how little she claimed to speak though as a character Those details were great Part way through the book things shifted and while I hoped the author wouldn t go the path that was taken, I figured it would end that way I m sorry to say it went to super unrealistic at many times with the main character reacting in ways that seemed really out of left field How she dealr with her boyfriend for example was odd to me The ending was rushed and weak as well.

  4. Marco Rafalà Marco Rafalà says:

    They Could Have Named Her Anything is a beautifully perceptive novel about two families one working class, the other wealthy set in and around an elite NYC school Through Maria, a Latinx scholarship student, and Rocky, her white, wealthy friend, Jimenez writes with honesty, compassion, and wit about the challenges of adolescence, the desire to belong, and the ways race and class complicate both This is a complex and satisfying novel with characters you can t help but fall in love with and root for right up to its powerful ending.

  5. MircaleWhip MircaleWhip says:

    This was my first First Reads and I m just trying to figure out what I just read I could not tell you for the life of me what this book was about Maria was a weird protagonist, it felt like she was just doing things for no particular reason at all just moving from scene to even as the book calls for it Why was she still dating and sleeping with Andres if he despised her so much He literally broke up with her while fingering her because according to him she had the deadest coochie in the world Why was she all hot and bothered for Rocky s dad but as soon as she finally got in bed with him she acted almost as if he was raping her I m just not sure what this book was supposed to be about or what I was supposed to take away from the story Like i can t tell you why any of the things in this book happened or what it all means in the long run I guess I was just bored and because there was no real story it was hard to look forward to the next scene.

  6. Emily Layne Fargo Emily Layne Fargo says:

    THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING is about a girl coming into her own power and also about the limited types of power our society allows young women to wield, especially young women who don t happen to be thin or white or wealthy Reading it made me nostalgic for my own girlhood and also so glad I never have to relive the tumult of my teenage years again.Maria Rosario is such a compelling protagonist endearing, exhilarating, frustrating, strong vulnerable, and above all real I felt deeply protective of her as I was reading, but also certain she was going to be just fine in the end Stephanie Jimenez is one of those skillful, subtle authors who can render everyday life just as dramatic and compelling as an action packed thriller because of all the seismic emotional shifts happening under the surface for her characters I adored this book, and I can t wait to see what she writes next

  7. San Francisco StoryTeller San Francisco StoryTeller says:

    A compelling tale of race and class and culture, as two girls from a private school Maria, on scholarship, and Rocky, the freewheeling, free spender become friends Their families will collide in gripping ways Achingly memorable.

  8. Deborah G. Caton Deborah G. Caton says:

    I wanted to like this book , and I will say that it kept my interest enough to want to finish it However, I nicknamed it my mediocre book because it was the most apt description to me The ideas themes surrounding social class, wealth, education, family relationships, gender, and the adolescent female experience were all present, and they were touched on enough to make me think a little However, this alone could not overcome the less than impressive writing.At times I felt like the author is perhaps a poet who tried to write a novel, but the genres collided instead of blended There are some passages that are beautiful and descriptive, but they are disjointed from the rest of the story This same sense of jumping around was consistent in all of the writing There is a way to successfully jump ahead in a narrative without over explaining with excessive prepositions, etc., but this book did not do that There are gaps throughout the storyline that left me furrowing my brow and backtracking to figure out how we got to that spot It felt like blank spaces in time and or character, which left the feeling of choppiness Spoiler alert For example, at one point one of the characters apparently falls or is knocked off a balcony to the flowerbed below, but there is no indication of what may or may not have happened, only that the main character turned her gaze down to the Summer Carnival hollyhock beds, where Rocky s limp body reposed Most troublesome were the strange conversations between the girls they were not fleshed out and seemed quite unrealistic to me Again, choppy and unclear and, therefore, frustrating.About halfway through I began wondering if perhaps the problem was a result of poor editing instead of mediocre writing, but there is no way to really know.The climax happened very quickly near the very end of the book and became blatantly obvious and predictable within a page, so it felt sort of anticlimactic The end was plausible enough I guess, but not overly satisfying As far as debut novels go, this was fine, but I would not really recommend it.

  9. Roni L. Roni L. says:

    Well written, but the protagonist, Maria, is pretty awful Maybe she s representative of teenagers, but she s selfish and opportunistic without any redeeming traits I hope the author didn t intend for anybody to actually root for her The fathers are equally distasteful, and the storyline between Maria and Charlie is cringe worthy Rocky was probably the most palatable of the main characters, and even that s a stretch In a nutshell, I would describe this book as unbearable.

  10. Book Babe Book Babe says:

    I intensely disliked this book Both characters were selfish bitches It was never clear why the two girls started having out together in the first place Throw in the awfulness of the father and I didn t even want to finish it The author seems compelled to throw in references about the characters appearances that were superfluous and in some cases disgusting For instance, There was a dribble of encrusted saliva at the corner of her lip Descriptions like that don t make it good writing I didn t like the writing, the story, or the characters.

  11. Kindle Customer Kindle Customer says:

    but it wasn t It starts off really well, with interesting characters and situations, but sadly it devolves into cliches almost immediately We have the rich family that doesn t care about their kids and the whole rest of the baggage that goes with it The conflict with Maria being Hispanic is pretty much lost in the shuffle and it s not really clear how the resolution spoiler she goes to college is achieved The ending is rushed and, as I already said, unclear Edited to add The scene where the guy breaks a shop window to get something the girl wants is a direct ripoff from something, but I can t remember what Much of the book seems pretty derivative all this has been said before, and said better.

  12. Darinda Darinda says:

    Maria and Rocky form an unlikely friendship Maria is a scholarship student at a private school, where Rocky is one of the privileged students Both Maria and Rocky have struggles in their lives.Told mostly from Maria s point of view, but also includes POVs from Rocky, Miguel, and Charlie Maria s family is struggling financially, she is in an unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend, and she suffers from depression Rocky s parents are going through a divorce, and she feels lonely and neglected Miguel is Maria s father, who has recently lost his job Charlie is Rocky s father, who is attracted to Maria.I m not sure what the point of this books is It covers a lot, but doesn t go deep into anything There is a lot of inappropriate behavior, and it all seems to be ignored or normalized Add in an abrupt ending that doesn t show much growth in the characters, and this novel leaves a lot to be desired.A contemporary young adult novel Flawed characters and lots of drama.

  13. katewickham katewickham says:

    This is a coming of age book and something I m sure many readers will enjoy Usually I think if I bought it I have to finish it, but just not going to make myself read of this teen anguish.

  14. BernaReads BernaReads says:

    This was a first reads selection and it also kept showing up on my Goodreads suggested list I figured it must be good Sadly, I was disappointed This book had potential as a coming of age story for two young women When they learn about privilege, culture, and social standing Instead, there were so many characters and storylines that took away from the essence of the story The set up for drama and intrigue was tightly woven, but the long dialogues with secondary characters seemed to drag on and on was that whole star sign convo really necessary which made the ending feel very rushed It was as if the author had luxuriously wrote and wrote, then all of a sudden realized her deadline has arrived and the author and her editor panicked typed up a rushed final draft and called it a day.

  15. Kathy Agdinaoay Kathy Agdinaoay says:

    I had a hard time deciphering some of the descriptions of interactions and conversations It just kept happening Me, wondering, what the heck did THAT mean I get the feeling it might have been written by a younger person but nevertheless, whoever approved the book could have helped with getting some revisions or editing help It wrapped up up little trite, too, I think, after all the chaos