A Must Read Book!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 17, 2020
Camila Hassan wants to be a futbolera, a soccer star, even though the world stands against her. Her parents do not want her to play soccer, and instead they are supporting her brother in his soccer ambitions. Camila's childhood love, who went on to soccer stardom, is back in town, tempting her to put him first and her dream second. What everyone doesn't realize is that on the field, Camila transforms into La Furia, a terrifying force of nature that devours the soccer field with skill and ferocity. She knows she has what it takes to surpass everybody's expectations of her, and she is not willing to back down for the sake of love or her family's expectations. Her only problem is that she's been keeping her soccer playing from her parents, and her team's qualified for a competition that she needs parental approval to attend. La Furia won't back down from this challenge either.
Camila, a.k.a. La Furia, is the star of this amazing story, so I want to talk about her first. Camila is an incredibly strong character who is so fierce, and is not willing to let anyone take advantage of her hard work or take credit for it. She works so hard to improve her soccer skills in order to reach her goal, and I admire that determination. Her relationship with her brother was also very solid, and I liked that he did what he could to help her. Even so, Camila doesn't want to be saved by others, she wants to save herself. I loved how strong she was to defy her parents and reach for her dreams, even though her parents, particularly her father, felt like she should walk a path they set out for her. While I believe it is important for children to be there when possible for their parents, children also do not need to live their lives in their parents' image or for the sole sake of lifting their parents up. Being a parent is not a free ticket to control children, for one day they grow up to make their own future.
I loved the symbolism and role that literature played in La Furia's story. Camila speaks of countless stories and female poets from Argentina who open her eyes to the possibilities she can dream about, and pave her way to strive for those dreams. I thought it was moving when Camila passed this inspiration on to Karen, a girl she mentors, so that another girl could find her own dreams and reach for them, just as Camila does. Stories connect us and inspire us to reach into our hearts for the dreams we dare not contemplate on our own, and I was thrilled to see that illustrated so clearly in Camila's life. Camila also longs to study and play soccer in North America, and it was really great for it to be shown that people can love new places for the opportunities and potential they offer, while still holding on to the good things about their original home and culture.
You know that feeling when you haven't even finished a book and you already know you want to own it in every format available? That is what I felt as I was reading Furia. I couldn't put this book down and I read it in just one sitting because it was so good! If I could change just one thing, I would ask for this story to be longer, because I felt like I needed more of these characters! All books come to an end, but I would have gladly read countless more pages to stay with these characters. I wish I had been able to read Furia and other books like it when I was growing up, because its message is so wholesome. To read and know that it is okay to choose yourself and your dreams over romance, family, and other people's whims and demands is a powerful message, and one I think all youth (and some adults) need in their lives. It is too often expected of women that love means sacrificing personal dreams and aspirations for the sake of the relationship, but those expectations don't have to be reality. I think it is great to see that stories where the protagonist chooses their dreams and ambitions over romance are becoming more mainstream, not just in the Latinx community, but in general. Too often the misleading fairy tale is sold to people that life is not complete unless there is a love interest, and that narrative isn't true.
Furia is a powerful story of a girl reaching for her dreams no matter who expects her to compromise them. Every one of us could take a page out of La Furia's playbook to make fewer compromises as we reach for the stars. Furia earns my highest recommendation as a story of empowerment, aspiration, and the determination to love yourself more than anything or anyone else, and to push yourself beyond your limits to turn your aspirations into reality.
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