“500 Words or Less,” by Juleah Del Rosario, is the heart-wrenching, very relatable story of a girl trying to find herself.
Nic Chen made a mistake, in a moment of weakness she forgot her about her boyfriend and cheated on him with his best friend. Initially, I didn’t like what she did, but as the book progresses, I came to understand Nic’s feelings and why she did what she did.
First of all, she recently lost her mother, and I literally mean lost, her mother ran away, leaving Nic empty, wondering why her mother deserted her. To make matters worse, the only thing her dad seems to care about is Nic’s grades and her college applications.
All her life Nic has been pressured to get into an Ivy League college, become rich, and thus have no worries. So when Nic gets the chance to help other people get into their desired college by writing their essays, she reluctantly accepts. She realizes along the way that writing others’ essays helps her to understand herself and others along the way.
I really enjoyed how the author included the essays in the book; they broached different social issues and topics and shone a light on them in a new way. I also liked how the book was written in verse; it made me connect more with Nic’s story and the other characters.
The essays helped Nic leave her own little bubble and expand into the world; seeing other people’s problems gave her a new understanding of the world, and helped me see more too.
I really related with Nic, her feelings and hard classes, and I loved her friends, especially Ashok. All the characters have their own imperfections, and I really loved that; it showed that not everyone is perfect, no matter how perfect their life looks like from the outside.
All in all “500 Words or Less” was a great read, and since I’m applying to colleges right now, it really inspired me and my writing. I think everyone should read this book; it’s great and I think many readers will relate to the story's humor and sadness.