“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.

Out now! Indiebound | B&N | Amazon


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.

She completed a novel-writing intensive at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and she attended the 2017 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference for fiction. They Could Have Named Her Anything is her debut novel. She lives in Queens, New York. Visit Stephanie at

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20 thoughts on “THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING by Stephanie Jimenez – REVIEW & Giveaway

  1. When we first move to California from ny ,new home looking for friends my ny accent really stuck out .It took awhile to settle in feel at home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Once when I changed jobs going from a large corporation giant legal department, to a public university law school, it was so totally different from the rigid, formal guidelines of a corporation employee to that of the more relaxed atmosphere of working on a campus. Many days I didn’t think I could do it, turns out it was my greatest decision.

    Now, I feel that way all the time, especially as I get older in today’s society and what’s happening in the world, I wonder where do I fit in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Growing up an Air Force “brat”, I had to start over, with new school, friends, house, state, etc. leaving me to wonder this all the time, but, learning to adapt quickly at the same time.


  4. The only time I ever felt that way was when I went to a new school in seventh grade. It was pretty scary and pretty awful.


  5. I STILL wonder, but I’ve moved away from trying to find where I got in and instead find circumstances that fit me.


  6. When I was a child my family moved a lot, every few years, so I was always having to figure out where I fit in. Those feelings have never left me, even though, as an adult, I don’t move much anymore.


  7. Yes, I was always trying to fit in a lot when I was in school. It has followed me throughout my life.


  8. All. The. Time. But I learned long ago having real friends is better than fitting in with fake friends.


  9. I have definitely felt that way especially when I am with women who have had children and have discussions about them. I can’t really relate or join in their discussions since I never had children.


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