Review: This Is Not a Personal Statement

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I received a copy from the publisher in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

When Perla Perez fails to get into Delmont University, her carefully planned future slowly falls apart. In a moment of panic, she forges her acceptance letter and heads to Delmont for real, deciding to scope the campus and use her newfound knowledge to improve her application to reapply for the next semester. As she breaks into campus accommodations and lies to her classmates, Perla must decide if this dream is her choice. 

Perla Perez, you have stressed me out to the point where I feared I was going to lose my hair while reading about your scheme. Reading this was trying to juggle my entertainment while also preparing Perla’s grave for her at the same time. Never has a book made me so tempted to flip to the ending to lessen the heart attack this child was giving me. This Is Not A Personal Statement is so unserious that I ended up enjoying the anxiety-inducing journey. 

Perla, a child of immigrant parents with high hopes for their children, is picture-perfect. As the youngest graduating senior at her high school, Perla is so sure that all that stress will be worth it once she gets into the college of her dreams. Except she doesn’t, and she’s adamant about fixing that. So she convinces her parents that her entire first semester (including board and tuition) is free when she plans to use that semester to experience college life and improve her application for next semester. My favourite experience from reading this book was reaching the 3/4 mark and realising that Perla had committed at least five different crimes already. 

To be more serious in this review, Perla’s story (if you squint and ignore the madness) was quite thoughtful, as the main takeaway from this story is about young children and the pressure they face to exceed the academic expectations placed on them. Perla goes through some serious character development which is a surprise. I found her actions to be quite bratty and rude in some moments, swiftly corrected by background characters that deserved a lot more of the spotlight. The lack of character development in all the secondary characters is what I would consider the significant drawback of this book. 

Usually, I consider books like this a disappointment, primarily due to the lack of depth in the characters. Still, honestly, the chaotic nature of this entire plot made this hilarious to read. Suspend all your disbelief when reading this book because it makes it much more enjoyable.


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