“They could have named her anything.” They Could Have Named Her Anything, pg. 170
Hostility toward immigrants widespread. We must reject the concept that real, authentic Americans are someone who looks and talks white. America is a place where everyone can be their true authentic self. It was founded on that principle, but sometimes it’s lost in the real world.
One of our favorite Debs from the Debutante class of 2019, Stephanie Jimenez is out with her debut novel, THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING (LittleA). It explores the idea of being your authentic self in a world that doesn’t always act or look like you.
Every morning 17-year old, Maria Anis Rosario leaves her close-knit, loud Puerto Rican/Equadorian family in Queens to attend private school on the Upper East Side. She’s one of a handful of scholarship Latina students attending. School is an hour away by train, but can feel like its on a different planet. Maria tries to fit in and one day fellow-student, “Rocky” welcomes her into her privileged orbit.
THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING is a warm, and often disturbing literary novel about family, racism, and dreams – those both fragile and terrifying. Navigating the competing desires of her parents and her peers, Maria must forge a path of her own and figure out what it is she really wants – and what she’s willing to give for that.
THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING is a brilliant debut that opens the door onto conversations about race and family, privilege and feminism.
Stephanie Jimenez is a former Fulbright recipient. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the Guardian; O, The Oprah Magazine; The New York Times; Joyland Magazine; and more.