I first stumbled across Ella Cerón’s writing in college. Cerón was one of the OG staff writers at Thought Catalog, and the one whose work resonated with me the most. Every time I saw Cerón published a new piece, I hurriedly clicked on the article to read it.
While I loved all of Cerón’s work, there is one piece she wrote that I never forgot called “Perfect Isn’t Interesting, Anyway.” In the essay, Cerón posits that perfection isn’t what makes someone compelling or worth loving:
“In retrospect, being perfect seems awfully lonely. And it’s tedious. There are, I think, far more compelling ways to spend your time than to second-guess everything you’re going to do and wear and eat and say. And someone will love you for all the flaws you expose, anyway.”
It was this piece that opened the door to my self-love journey and also helped me find the encouragement to finally end my own pursuit of perfection.
Learning to love myself despite by flaws has been a difficult road to travel but a worthy one, and I still have a ways to go. Luckily for me, though, Cerón is back with a debut YA novel called Viva Lola Espinoza. And if you too have ever believed you had to be perfect in order to be loved, in order to be interesting, and in order to live, Viva Lola Espinoza is the book for you.
After receiving an unexpected C in her Spanish class, Lola Espinoza’s parents send her to stay with her grandmother in Mexico City for the summer so she can learn Spanish before she comes back home for her senior year of high school.
When she arrives in Mexico City and starts working at her cousin’s restaurant, she meets the incredibly charming and handsome Rio and also discovers that her family is cursed. While Lola had never been lucky in love, she is now learning that this bad luck is actually by magical design.
With the help of Rio’s surly and stoic best friend Javi, Lola makes it a mission to break the family curse so she can fall in love without consequence. And over the course of that summer, Lola learns more about her family, herself, and the magic around us all.
In this beautiful coming-of-age tale, Lola comes to realize that maybe you never had to be perfect in order to be worthy of love. You just had to be brave enough to show up as yourself and all that you are. Viva Lola Espinoza is an important book and a reminder that perfection isn’t interesting, anyway.
‘Viva Lola Espinoza’ is available now.