Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez is a feminist story about soccer and following your dreams no matter what. As a fan of any book about sports, I loved reading about Camila’s dreams of becoming a professional soccer player in the face of misogyny, and she is a strong main character with an engaging voice. While the author does not shy away from the more painful aspects of a patriarchal society, this is a story full of hope, and I would definitely recommend it to those who, like me, enjoy representation of strong women in sports.Title: Furia
Author: Yamile Saied Méndez
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.
At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
Set in Argentina, this book follows Camila, a talented athlete who lives a double life. Soccer is her true passion, but as a woman, her father does not approve, and Camila must play in secret. Camila is a star on her team, nicknamed La Furia, but as they gain recognition and new opportunities, it becomes even harder to keep her second life a secret, especially when she needs permission to compete in a major tournament. To make matters more complicated, the boy she has liked for a long time, a renowned soccer star himself, returns to town. Camila must pave her own way in a society that prevents her from doing so, and find a way to balance the different aspects of her life.
❀ Strong Main Character
Camila is a strong main character, and she has a great voice. She is so strong in the face of oppression, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to follow her dreams of earning a spot on a US team. I especially enjoyed the way the romance plays out, as Diego returns to town with this vision of saving Camila, but Camila makes it clear that she is perfectly capable of saving herself–she is able to make her dreams come true without the help of her brother or Diego, who are talented soccer players themselves.
❀ Feminist Messages
Where this book truly succeeds is in its feminist messages as the author paints a picture of what it is like to live in an oppressive patriarchal society. Throughout Camila’s journey to athletic success are mentions of women going missing and being controlled, and Camila herself is forced to keep her talents a secret in order to conform to society’s expectations. However, while the story does not shy away from moments of pain, this is also one full of hope, and Camila and her team push for positive social change.
❀ Powerful Story
Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez is a powerful story that will stick with readers long after they have turned the last page. The main character is strong and talented, and the social themes are well integrated into the story. I would definitely recommend this one, especially to those looking for an empowering read about the strength of women.