Review of “The Victoria in My Head” by Janelle Milanes

Milanes, Janelle. The Victoria in My Head. New York: Simon Pulse, 2017. 

Hardcover | $117.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1481480895 | 389 pages | YA Contemporary Romance

5 stars

Despite not being the biggest music fan, I really loved The Victoria in My Head. It has a story that is very relatable, and I loved that, in addition to having a Latina lead character, the supporting cast was diverse as well, including character of different races and sexual orientations, while making it only a small aspect of who they are and allowing them to be fully fleshed out characters.

Victoria as a main character and narrator is also great. I really liked her voice throughout the book, and this might actually be one of my favorite books told in first person present tense for that reason. Victoria is a little dense at times, as there were things I could tell were going to happen, even reading through her perspective before they did, but I think that adds to her character.

And I did not expect to love Strand as much as I did. I knew he was being set up to be the love interest, due to his name being dropped in the blurb, and the fact that he’s the first of the band members she runs into, but given his playboy reputation, I did not see the two of them gelling at all, and was happy when she got together with Levi. But I love how, through little actions, it is shown that Strand really is a decent guy and genuinely cares about Victoria, and while that’s not to say that Levi is a (complete) jerk, he definitely isn’t as invested in learning about Victoria’s likes and dislikes, and what would make her happy.

I also love the relationship between Victoria and her parents. While some of the elements could resonate to any teenager, I like how there is that connection to the ways her immigrant parents had to struggle upon arriving in this country, and hence there are those expectations of her to succeed as well. But I loved how there were also moments when they seemed to share a connection, like the revelation of her father’s own musical interests or the scene where her mother reflects on the first record she bought upon arriving in America.

I would recommend this book to fans of coming-of-age stories with a diverse and likable cast of characters.

 

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