Last summer, I picked up Big Chicas Don’t Cry by Annette Chavez Macias. It’s her first book published under this name (she also writes romances as Sabrina Sol), and her first within the Women’s Fiction genre. Naturally, the title makes me think of Fergie’s 2006 song, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and I’m always happy for some early 2000s nostalgia. (The first chapter of this book also mentions two of my favorite artists, Green Day and Kelly Clarkson!) In Big Chicas Don’t Cry, we follow four Latina women as they navigate early adulthood and all its ups and downs. This book is for all of us Millennial women entering our 30s.
Mari, Erica, Selena, and Gracie are four cousins who were inseparable when they were young. But now in their late 20s, only three of them remain close; Mari has become more or less estranged from her family. All four women are facing a tumultuous year, from family issues to dating drama to struggles in their respective careers. When times get tough, will it be enough to pull the four of them closer together again?
In the early 2000s, we meet four cousins who are inseparable: Erica, Mari, and sisters Gracie and Selena. Mari’s parents are going through a divorce and she’s distraught. Though they vow to always be there for each other, years later, Mari is all but estranged from the family.
Fast forward to present day: Erica, Selena, and Gracie are all still close, spending time together and texting each other regularly. They’ve hardly seen Mari in years. Despite the chasm, though, all four women are going through many of the same ups and downs in their careers, love lives, and family. From one Christmas to the next, all four will experience massive changes.
First we meet Erica, recently dumped and sometimes too defensive. She works at a news company and is butting heads with her new boss, Adrian. Eventually, these enemies become friends and Erica develops a crush, but she can’t act on it. Does he even reciprocate her feelings? Does it even matter, since he’s her boss?
Selena is the spunkiest of the four, and probably my favorite character and story arc here. She’s anti-relationships, preferring casual hookups where she can’t get burned again. Her favorite hookup, Nathan, wants something more with her, and he helps her in potentially leaving her dead-end job for a better one in New York. But Selena’s not sure if she’s ready for such a big move—geographically or romantically.
Her sister, Gracie, is the most religious of the four, working at the Catholic school she attended in her youth. While her job is more secure, her love life is going to be more dramatic. Her middle school crush is now a substitute teacher at her school, and he could just become her first boyfriend ever. But will he be able to commit when their relationship moves to the next level?
Finally there’s Mari: Married to her workaholic and rich husband, usually home alone with nothing to do, and more or less estranged from her family. She’s never gotten over her parents’ divorce or her resentment towards all her family for siding with her alcoholic dad. Mari’s career is on hold, mainly thanks to her overbearing husband, and she’s miserable. How can she fix her marriage? Should she revive her career? Should she mend her family relationships?
Big Chicas Don’t Cry moves between the four women, each chapter in the first-person POV of one of them. Their stories may be different, but they’re facing struggles of similar kinds, and those themes mirror each other as the novel progresses. I love how three of them regularly check in on each other and help each other through tough decisions. The larger family, especially their abuelita, is also a commonality between all four cousins. The family always brings them together, whether it’s for a celebration or for a tragedy.
Each of the cousins’ story arcs stands on its own, and all four characters are flawed but lovable, realistic women. I felt for all of them and was rooting for them to each find happiness—in their careers, in their romantic relationships, and within their family. Together, their eventful year makes for a heartwarming novel of family and womanhood.
The audiobook version of Big Chicas Don’t Cry features narration from four different voice actors, one for each of the main characters. They each did a wonderful job of bringing the cousins to life and infusing them with extra personality. They each felt all the more real thanks to the engaging and spot-on narration. My only nitpick would be that the four narrators weren’t consistent in how another character’s voice sounded. For example, Gracie’s voice was more measured and deep within her own chapters, but when in the chapter for, say, Erica, she would voice Gracie with a higher, girlier sound. It’s not a big drawback, but something I noticed throughout the audiobook.
Big Chicas Don’t Cry is a tender and candid portrayal of four women looking for happiness on their own terms. It combines family relationships, romantic relationships, and career ambitions, painting a complete picture of what it’s like to be a woman today. It’s emotional but sweet and will leave a lasting impact.
I look forward to reading more from Annette Chavez Macias, including her upcoming novel, Too Soon for Adiós. Look out for my review of that in March!
Get the Book
You can buy Big Chicas Don’t Cry here – it’s available as a paerback, ebook, and audiobook.
|Big Chicas Don’t Cry by Annette Chavez Macias|
|Audiobook Narrator||Vanessa Vasquez, Alessandra Manon, Aida Reluzco, Dani Muñoz|
|Genre||Women’s Fiction; Contemporary Fiction|
|Book Length||11 hours|
|Format I Read||Audiobook|
|Original Publication Date||September 1, 2022|
Four cousins navigate love, loss, and the meaning of family over the course of one memorable year in this heartfelt family drama.
Cousins Mari, Erica, Selena, and Gracie are inseparable. They aren’t just family but best friends—sharing secrets, traditions, and a fierce love for their abuelita. But their idyllic childhood ends when Mari’s parents divorce, forcing her to move away. With Mari gone, the girls’ tight-knit bond unravels.
Fifteen years later, Mari’s got the big house and handsome husband, but her life is in shambles. Erica’s boyfriend just dumped her, and her new boss hates her. Selena can’t seem to find her place in the world—not Mexican enough for her family, not white enough for her colleagues. And Gracie is a Catholic school teacher with an all-consuming crush, but she can’t trust herself when it comes to romance.
As rocky as the cousins’ lives have become, nothing can prepare them for the heartbreaking loss of a loved one. When tragedy reunites them, will they remember their abuelita’s lessons about family and forgiveness—or are fifteen years of separation too much to overcome?
About the Author
Annette Chavez Macias writes stories about love, family and following your dreams. She is proud of her Mexican-American heritage, culture and traditions. All of which can be found within the pages of her books. For those readers wanting even more love stories and guaranteed happily ever afters, Annette also writes romance under the pen name Sabrina Sol. A Southern California native, Annette lives just outside Los Angeles with her husband, three children and four dogs.
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