The Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Summary: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.
*I requested an ARC from the publisher~All thoughts are my own*
My Thoughts: The Victoria In My Head is a breath of fresh air in YA Contemporary! Comedic and heartfelt, Milanes’s debut novel weaves in themes of family, friendship, and courage as Victoria’s “treadmill” life becomes a little more interesting when she decides to join a band!
The Victoria In My Head easily became one of my favorite YA Contemporary books of all time + probably the rest of the year! I HIGHLY recommend adding this book your TBR if you haven’t already~
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)♥♥
Told through a humorous + wonderfully written 1st person POV, we follow Victoria Cruz as she starts off another “treadmill” of a day. She’s gotten used to the routine of her daily life: breakfast, school, Cross Country practice, etc.!
Until she sees a cute guy hanging up a poster in the hallway of school. While she is very shy, she makes an on-the-spot decision to check it out & attempts to talk to the guy! It turns out the mystery guy leaves up a poster for lead vocalist auditions for the band he’s a part of.
After talking it over with her best-friend Annie Lin, who is extremely organized, focused, and not one for spontaneity, she convinces her its probably not a good idea. That is until later that day (b/c of Annie) she gets a spot for an audition and finds the courage to at least check it out!
With that, her life becomes a little more interesting! When she becomes a part of the band, she’s making new friends, band members like Levi (band leader), Strand (the poster guy +guitarist), and Krina (the drummer), learning more about her best friend Annie in the process + tackling first love, + better understanding herself along the way and attempting to try new things.
She has a love for music (collecting vinyls + has an extensive knowledge of rock music) and makes playlists for random moments or things (like stargazing, rainy days, etc.) which I loved reading about (´▽`ʃƪ) Above all, I adored how music was weaved all throughout this novel!
There were so many aspects that I loved about this book! From the spectacular writing + great pacing, diverse cast of characters, to the unique plot, and important themes…the list goes on!
I loved how diverse this cast was! There’s the main character Victoria Cruz + her younger brother who are Cuban-American + of course also her parents who are Cuban! While I may not be Cuban, but being Latinx/ Latina myself, reading from her POV honestly brought me to tears because I related to her so much. She is quite shy +has anxiety (even around her family sometimes), but when she gets comfortable enough around new people/friends can really open up!~
From the food mentioned like platanos, a quincenera being mentioned later on, even to Victoria mentioning in one scene that while parents were speaking Spanish and she commented that her parents joked/assumed she’d never know what they talking about her as though she didn’t know Spanish at all 😂😂 It was moments like that which were just so relatable that I cried tears of joy!! (I loved reading from her POV so much 😭❤️🎶✨!!)
As I mentioned above, it was amazing to read such a diverse YA Contemporary! There’s her best-friend Annie Lin (Chinese), Krina the drummer (Indian + Lesbian), cute-mystery guy Strand (biracial), + Levi, the band leader (Jewish).
There’s also a friendship + f/f relationship that later develops between Annie & Krina.
While I loved all the characters equally, my favorites aside from Victoria, were Annie & Strand!
Victoria’s parents are set on her applying and attending Harvard, that over the course of the novel, its clear that she is overwhelmed with the plan her parents have laid out for her and she isn’t entirely sure of what she wants anymore.
While she is unsure, she fully understands she wants to make her parents proud and understands why they are expecting her do Cross-Country + keep her grades up to make her application as outstanding as possible, because all they want for her is to be successful & happy once she heads to college!
What I also loved (a don’t often see in YA Contemporary) was how involved Victoria’s parents were! They loved her very much and were very protective! While both Victoria and her parents had their reasons for agreeing/disagreeing with each other, I loved how central they were to the story!
While I have read quite a number of YA Contemporary novels, this one truly stands out and has easily taken the top spot of my favorite YA Contemporary book of all time! Its been quite a while that a YA Contemporary has truly stuck with me as much as this one did.
There were a variety of themes + discussions over the course of this novel! Themes of family and independence are truly at the heart of this story.
The Victoria In My Head also has so many positive female friendships + I don’t think once does Victoria think badly of another girl! So often in YA Books there’s girl vs. girl hate, this book had NONE of that!
Victoria does have her preconceived notions of people (guys & girls), but once she gets to know them + considers the differing sides to those people, she is very understanding! She builds new friendships and though she is shy, her friendships with the females were strengthened so much as the story progressed.
There’s also a lot of discussion of sex/sex positivity as the story progressed when Victoria later gets a boyfriend and is navigating her first relationship.
I don’t want to give too much of the book away, but overall I highly recommend adding The Victoria In My Head to your TBR + checking it out on release day! It was a book that went above and beyond my expectations and truly captured my heart ❤️🎶
Overall, I’m so grateful to have been able to read/review an early copy of this novel and spread the word about The Victoria In My Head so other Latinx & especially Cuban/Cuban-American readers can relate to Victoria as much as I did!
The Victoria In My Head is a spectacular coming-of-age story! With a dynamic + diverse cast of characters, hilarious + comedic moments, phenomenal plot, fantastic writing, and so much more, this music-filled debut follows Victoria Cruz and the courage she gains to follow her heart!