Mexican High is Liza Monroy’s debut novel about a girl named Milagro. We meet Milagro as she finds out that, yet again, her single mother who is a U.S. diplomat, is moving her to another country just as she’s gotten comfortable. This move is even worse than the ones before since Milagro, (or “Mila”), is starting her senior year of high school and won’t even get to graduate with her friends.
Because the government pays for her education, Milagro ends up attending a $40,000 a year international prep school in Mexico City. Most of her classmates are the snobby children of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the country and they don’t let just anyone into their clique. Milagro faces the typical teenage challenges of trying to fit in, finding her own identity, and boys in addition to the lure of easily obtained drugs and alcohol and learning a new language.
An additional sub plot involves the fact that Milagro has long known that her estranged father is a powerful Mexican politician, and though her mother has always refused to reveal his identity, Milagro is determined to find him.
The author, herself once a student at the international school in Mexico City, began this book as a memoir but seventy-five pages in, she decided to re-write it as a work of fiction. Monroy says, “Many of the stories-within-the-story of things Milagro says, does, and experiences range from “precisely what happened” to “deeply rooted in fact” to “loosely based on truth.””
Mexican High is an interesting look into Mexico City culture and Milagro’s transformation through her final year of high school, though more exciting than what most of us experienced, is something anyone can relate to.
Now available in paperback.