Elevate Difference

Reviews by Jessica Sánchez

Jessica Sánchez

Jessica Sánchez lives her life immersed in the academic world and is therefore a slave to it. She is currently attempting the impossible task of living a (somewhat) normal life while completing a PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. For the most part she spends her time reading really old books about the Spanish Golden Age and Gender Studies, luckily she lives in the wonderful city of Austin, TX where there are plenty of distractions.

She enjoys painting, making up imaginary tales about random people she sees and meets and when not writing about other old, genius writers, does a bit of fiction writing of her own.


One thing to know about Platinum is that it’s about women in the hip-hop industry—several types of women. To narrow it down, there are four voices compiling the novel, each one narrating a different perspective of the industry, each one fulfilling a particular role. There’s the rapper’s devoted wife who turns a blind eye and tolerates STDs due to his infidelities.

Toe to Toe

Toe to Toe was part of the official selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The story is simple: Jesse and Tosha are both lacrosse players at a Washington, D.C. prep school and although they seem predestined to be rivals, they become the best of friends. Each girl is completely different from each other. Jesse (Louisa Krause) is the wealthy yet lonely and promiscuous daughter of detached parents with Daddy issues.


“This night I was trying to describe what my orgasms were like, but I doubted if what I wanted to say would sound compelling to anyone but me...” explains Suzanne, before writing a letter to a convicted rapist who is serving his sentence in prison and whom she has established a relationship with. Maureen Gibbon’s Thief is the story of Suzanne, a complex woman trying to make sense of her own rape, while exploring her own sexuality.

Cook the Books

Cook the Books is part of a series of mystery books (Gourmet Girl Mysteries) by mother-daughter writing team Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant. Chloe is a graduate student in her mid twenties, who lives by herself and has a passion for food. She has an incredibly gorgeous best friend named Adrianna, who is married to a goofy but honest and lovable free-spirited (broke) man named Owen.

Aggressively Humble

Just like the spelling of their name, Chll Pll is complex yet simple. Apparently the two musicians that form Chll Pll are quite the musical social butterflies, as they have collaborated with a bunch of other musicians.

Fig Trees

It’s hard to explain Fig Trees. It’s an opera yet it's also a documentary. There’s an albino squirrel and a nun. It scrutinizes the critical circumstances of the AIDS epidemic, from the 1980s to the present day, and points out, with sharp observations, the irony of consumer-driven AIDS campaigns. The main issues addressed are the ineffectiveness of governments and the greediness of pharmaceutical companies, but popular culture is not completely innocent either. In Fig Trees, director John Greyson documents the story of South African AIDS activist, Zackie Achmat.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

After listening to Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, I did some background checking on the artist Naree. How could I not when the album is named after a famous novel? I felt it was more than likely that some sort of duality in Naree’s life or work would emerge: a yin to a yang, a left to a right, two sides holding a vertebrae.

Cooking Dirty: A Story of Life, Sex, Love and Death in the Kitchen

My initial reaction after reading this book was to hurl it across the room and never see it again. Dramatic? A bit, yet justifiable. In an autobiographical narration, Jason Sheehan attempts to merge his experience as a cook with being a writer, but fails miserably. Cooking Dirty is not your average tale of a typical award-winning chef. There’s no culinary school or classical training involved, just the lessons he learned from the School of Hard Knocks.

Boy Crazy: Coming Out Erotica

Boy Crazy is a series of firsts: first coming out of the closet experiences, first feelings of sexual awakening, first realizations of “otherness,” first times falling in love... the list goes on and on. In a series of otherwise unrelated stories, multiple authors tell the tales of coming out and first encounters, all from the perspective of boys, of young homosexuals' way of perceiving the world.

100 Girls on Cheap Paper: Drawings by Tina Berning

100 Girls on Cheap Paper is, to put it simply, a beautiful collection of illustrations featuring women. As the title explains it, there are 100 different images. What the title does not explain, however, is the expressiveness found in each page.

Good Dick

Good Dick is not porn—in fact, it’s a love story. You could call it a romantic comedy, but by “romantic comedy” I mean the polar opposite; there’s not much romance and its comedy leans more towards the dark side. Yet the central theme is certainly a romantic one.

Gaudi (1987 Expanded Restoration)

The Alan Parsons Project music can be defined as mainly rock. They create concept albums revolving around different ideas or people, such as Edgar Allan Poe, and for this particular concept album Antonio Gaudi served as the inspiration. Gaudi was a Spanish modernist architect whose buildings still stand as monuments of his genius. Among his very impressive work is La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, which is considered his masterpiece even though it remains unfinished. Several musicians and singers contribute to the Project’s vision.

Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina

Hijas Americanas is a book that discusses the issues that Latinas raised in the United States face. It’s an extensive analysis of cultural differences and the different ways in which they assimilate, while still incorporating the values and traditions ingrained by family. Rosie Molinary conducted an extensive survey (which she includes at the end of the book) and based her book both on her findings and on her experiences growing up.

The Curse of the Holy Pail

When I first laid my hands on this book, I really didn’t know what to think. I’d never heard of this series before, the only thing I did know was that it was a mystery novel. Before reading it, I studied the book’s cover and found myself smiling; it was the outline of a thick woman in casual garb, not the typical "attractive" silhouette squeezed in a curve-hugging, tailored suit that I was expecting. I guess that was my first clue this book would not be what I expected. For a moment I pondered if I should have read the first book before reading this one.

Ecstasy and the Demon: The Dances of Mary Wigman

Through her extensive research, Susan Manning is able to paint a portrait of the person that Mary Wigman was. Her career was based on her development of a unique style of movement which became a strong influence of American modern dance. Mary Wigman refused to conform to the standard norms of dance, she didn’t rely on elaborate costumes and lightning; at times she wouldn’t use music either. She stripped the theatrics from her performances, leaving only her body and face to transmit her message.