Banned review: The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes

Victoria Cruz inhabits two worlds: In one, she is a rock star, thrashing the stage with her husky voice and purple-streaked hair. In the other, currently serving as her reality, Victoria is a shy teenager with overprotective Cuban parents, who sleepwalks through her life at the prestigious Evanston Academy. Unable to overcome the whole paralyzing-stage-fright thing, Victoria settles for living inside her fantasies, where nothing can go wrong and everything is set to her expertly crafted music playlists.

But after a chance encounter with an unattainably gorgeous boy named Strand, whose band seeks a lead singer, Victoria is tempted to turn her fevered daydreams into reality. To do that, she must confront her insecurities and break away from the treadmill that is her life. Suddenly, Victoria is faced with the choice of staying on the path she’s always known and straying off-course to find love, adventure, and danger.

From debut author Janelle Milanes comes a hilarious and heartfelt tale of the spectacular things that can happen when you go after what you really want.

The Meta Details:
Source: Netgalley
Format: eBook
Length: 400 pages
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Genre: Coming of age
Content Level: Young adult
Pearl Clutching Content: you lied to your parents and snuck out and got drunk? WHO EVEN ARE YOU? (aka every teenager ever)
Trigger Warnings: apathy and ruts
Featuring: Rock goddess in the making… if only she can get out of her own way. Her best friend. Her best friend’s new best friend. Her boyfriend. Her boyfriend’s best friend. Her new crush. Her best friend’s new crush. Some of these are the same people… fucking being a teenager, man…

Recommended for: everybody! (Rock your body)
Rating: Must read

Ginny Lurcock’s Thoughts: Six bad books over the course of two days. Six. Only one of which I was able to finish. By the time I picked up “The Victoria in My Head” I was tired, depressed, and ready to slink back off to my favorite fanfictions and never return to the world of published novels again.

Okay, probably not, but the idea was so tempting. And it was in the middle of that temptation, on lunch, heating up frozen burritos and generally making poor life choices that I began to read.

I was late back from lunch because… did not… want to… stop…

I hadn’t even made it one chapter and I was hooked.

There was so much of myself in Victoria. Seemingly impossibly so. I mean, if you made a Venn diagram with the two of us, there would be little that intersected. We’re nearly 20 years apart in age. She’s the child of Cuban immigrants while I’m of Irish and German descent. She lives in a city, I grew up in the burbs so burb they were actually pretty rural. She goes to an elite private school while I went public.

Big, huge, academic differences.

And yet, in the middle of that diagram, there’s a general apathy with the way our lives are. The feeling that somewhere along the way, we got stuck on a path. One with no exits or stop signs. With no clear idea how we got there, and no idea how to get the fuck out. This sinking feeling of being trapped and drowning and dear god, can’t someone save us? And if we are saved… will we be letting everyone down?

The choice to keep it all to ourselves and suffer in silence, because our happiness isn’t worth the pain it may cause others. Their disappointment.

Their disapproval.

It was very real. Incredibly real. It made me feel things and I was sitting at my computer crying in the middle of the night over just how real it was. The characters were vibrant, the settings were so real I felt cold, the prose was on point, and everything was presented without bias. The story was told and you got to see that no one was really the bad guy. It’s just that not everyone can always be the good guy.

It was incredible. And then you add in the knowledge that this was a debut novel… I’m just… I’m fangirling and flailing with more than a few tears. I cannot wait to see what Janelle Milanes comes out with next.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for a fair and honest review via Netgalley.

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