This Is Not A Personal Statement
Quill Tree Books, January 17, 2023
This Is Not A Personal Statement

AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award Winner

Georgia Tome Society It List, 2024-2025, for Grades 9-12


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At sixteen, Perla is the youngest graduating senior of the hypercompetitive Monte Verde High. Praised—and not-so-quietly bashed—as “Perfect Perlie Perez,” Perla knows all the late nights, social isolation, and crushing stress will be worth it when she gets into the college of her (and her parents’) dreams: Delmont University.

Then Perla doesn’t get in, and her meticulously planned future shatters. In a panic, she forges her own acceptance letter, and next thing she knows, she’s heading to Delmont for real, acceptance or not. Perla’s plan? Gather on-the-ground intel to beef up her application and reapply spring semester before she’s caught.

But as her guilty conscience grows and campus security looms large, Perla starts to wonder if her plan will really succeed—and if this dream she’s worked for her entire life is something she even wants.


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AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award Winner

“I read this book with my heart in my throat, increasingly breathless as I turned the pages. This Is Not a Personal Statement is both a poignant coming-of-age and a carefully plotted story of a lie that quickly spirals out of control. Tracy Badua is an author to watch.” — Rachel Lynn Solomon, New York Times bestselling author of See You Yesterday and Today Tonight Tomorrow

“At turns humorous, painful, and heartfelt, Perla’s story speaks to how we can lose ourselves to parental and communal expectations and how we can find our way back.” — Randy Ribay, award-winning author of Patron Saints of Nothing

“A compelling read that will speak to the many readers who will understand [Perla’s] motivations all too well. An intense and heartfelt romp.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Attentively examining themes of guilt and outside pressures with cultural nuance and plenty of good-humored scheming, Badua cultivates a high-stakes narrative of self-discovery and the dangers in pursuing perfection.” — Publishers Weekly

“Full of thoughtful exploration of the pressure of immigrant parents and elitism in college admissions, this book also brings a unique zest to the ‘college novel’ that makes it ideal for teens who have not yet graduated.” — School Library Journal

“Told with heart and humility, Badua’s debut reflects on the self-determined life and Perla’s self-reliance as she dodges the truth in pursuit of what is, ultimately, her own truth.” — Booklist