Review:: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in The Education of Margot Sanchez, a bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.


Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal. (via Goodreads)

I received an eARC from the publisher, Simon & Schuster, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

At the beginning of The Education of Margot Sanchez, Margot was more than a little spoiled. She was exceedingly ungrateful to her family, and tries to be just like the popular girls at her super expensive private high school. She honestly earned her hated nickname of Princésa, but as I got further into the book, I started liking her more and more.

As someone who worked in a grocery store to pay the bills for four years during college, I wanted to strangle her every time she complained about the work she had to do. That being said, I loved seeing Margot reinvent (or deinvent?) herself back to being more of her true self, and learning about her privileges, how gentrification works, and how complicated being a part of someone else’s life actually is – whether they’re family members, friends or classmates.

I loved seeing the changes in how Margot saw her family, despite how seriously flawed her father and brother were throughout the book. I regularly wanted to punch both of them. (I might be a little violent in my mind.)

The Education of Margot Sanchez was a great mix of serious moments and lighthearted ones, and I appreciated the combination. It kept the book from being too preachy, while also keeping Margot down to earth. I’m very glad for the fictional Margot and her family for all of the changes that happened throughout the book, and the hopeful ending for the building near Sanchez & Sons. I also loved that Margot made a list of those she had to fix things with.

I also want to talk about the cover, which is stunning. The style of it was absolutely perfect for The Education of Margot Sanchez, and it looked like the kind of thing that Elizabeth would have painted of her friend, which was awesome.

The ending with Nick really threw me off, and messed up a little bit of my love for the book, but I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t say much else. It just really bothered me.

This was a four star read for me. I highly recommend it, but it wasn’t exactly perfect for me. If it sounds like more your cup of tea, you can pick up a copy on Amazon, Indiebound or your other favorite bookseller!

four stars and one empty one meant to signify a four star review

Originally from the Bronx, NYC, Lilliam Rivera is a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and a 2015 Clarion graduate. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from PEN Center USA, Elizabeth George Foundation, and A Room of Her Own Foundation. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Latina, among others. She hosts the Los Angeles-based radio show Literary Soundtrack on Radio Sombra and lives in Los Angeles with her family. Visit her at

Disclaimer: All links to Indiebound and Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money off of it.

7 thoughts on “Review:: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

  1. Fantastic review, as always! This reinforces my belief that everyone should work in customer service at one point in their lives. A little humility goes a long way!

    (Btw, you’ve got a 5 star pic up instead of a 4 star!)

    1. God, everyone absolutely should work retail at some point. I think that’s why people our age are better with being polite to service workers than older generations tend to be.
      (ACK. Fixed! Thanks for letting me know!)

      1. Oh, definitely. I much prefer dealing with teenagers/people in their 20s than anyone else. It always surprises me how rude little grannies can be!

        No worries lovely 🙂

        1. Yep. I worked at a grocery store for four years, and Dicks Sporting Goods for six months. Grannies are almost always the worst. The old single men give them a run for their money, usually, though….

          1. OH GOD you’re so right. Luckily for me, in the two bookstores I’ve worked in, we’ve always had code words and stuff for when creepy guys come in. All the girls quickly realise we’re needed at the back.

  2. Ooh, can I hear what happens at the end that you don’t like? I like to be prepared. You could email me or DM on Twitter if you don’t want to get into it in the comments section where other unspoiled persons might read about it.

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