Book Review: To Be Maria by Deanna Proach

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

To Be Maria by Deanna Proach
(Started: April 17, 2013; Finished: May 05, 2013)

Seventeen-year-old Anya Preschnikov wants to become a famous actress but she's faced with two problems. Her father ignores her and doesn't have any money to support her. At school, she's bullied on a daily basis, yet she believes that she will gain her stepping-stone to stardom if she's accepted by her peers.
All of this changes when Maria Hernandez--an immigrant from Spain--comes to Peach Valley Senior High. Maria knows what it takes to fit in. She's assertive, confident and she dresses suggestively, characteristics that all of the popular kids admire. Yet she sees in Anya what no one else sees: beauty and talent.
When Maria extends her hand of friendship, Anya is elated. Her rise to popularity is about to become a reality, but it ends at a house party when a boy's rude comment sends her into a rage.
Desperate to belong somewhere, Anya and Maria seek new friends outside of school. They meet Alex and Marissa, a young couple who eagerly welcomes them into their world of parties and drugs. Anya and Maria soon find out that Alex is a drug dealer, but they are so lured by his wealth, good looks and aggressive confidence that they can't resist his friendship. They don't know that Alex's gang is at war with a rival gang--one that's run by Anya's older brother, Adrik--until one incident puts their lives in danger's path. To make matters worse, Alex won't let Anya and Maria out of his sight. The two teens are forced to make a decision that's a matter of life or death. (From Netgalley)
Review: 1 star
Source: Sent by the author
Published by: Smith Publicity
Released on: May 01, 2013
There are things that are not meant for you despite trying and wanting it to be. That's how I felt when I was reading this book. I tried so hard to understand and even hoped that I reach a certain part wherein I can say that it still has sense in spite all of its shortcomings. I am not speechless because I was mind-blown but because I was so disappointed and so frustrated. It has a lot of social issues that I think the author wanted to address, from bullying to peer pressure, from clique to labels we define ourselves during high school. It was a good thing since there was a goal to be achieved but unfortunately, the book failed to go to that direction. I think it was too ambitious to want to achieve everything when the ideas and the plot were so cluttered. As a reader, I was so confused on what was going on because it always switched from this issue to another without even giving a resolution to the first one. The book also has a lot of characters and events that did not seem to have any connection to the main point of the story.

I also hate the characters and how they did not progress to be better persons towards the ending. First is Maria. I do not understand why Anya wants to be like her or to be friends with her when she was not even a good example or influence. She does not want to study or finish school and just want to settle as a waitress in a restaurant. That's why I don't get why Anya envies her when she's not the rich, straight A student most of us wants to be. Second is Anya. She had the chance to change her life and really be someone in the future but she wasted it for a friendship that gotten her into the worse situations. Oh please. As usual, she wanted to be popular but it had totally gone wrong. I would want to sympathize with her because of the way she was bullied but I just can't shake the feeling of hate that I have towards her since she tends to blame everyone for what was happening to her. Plus, she does not take responsibility for her actions and I hate how coward she is. Patrick was no better. He was the worst friend and admirer I have ever read about. How could you believe your friend's tormentors instead of taking your friend's side? I was disgusted by how he treated Anya. I think he was the worst character because of his cowardice. I just wished they have learned something towards the end but that was not the case.

The book was promising and had so much potential to give the readers a worthwhile read but it had failed to deliver and was poorly executed.

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