Did you think it was going to be that easy?
Maria Gabriela Sanchez (née Posada)  is the main deuteragonist of The Book of Life and the love interest of both Manolo Sánchez and Joaquín Mondragon. At the end of the movie, she marries Manolo Sanchez.
As a child, Maria had her hair in braided pigtails, each with a red bow. She also wore a white short sleeve shirt, which is decorated around the collar and sleeves with a yellow pattern, and a red skirt. Maria also wears black Mary Jane shoes with white socks. She also wears a necklace.
When she leaves San Ángel on the train, Maria wears black and white dress with matching bonnet.
As an adult, Maria is a tall, thin, and beautiful woman. She has her long, curly brown hair in a high pony tail and wears a white off-the-shoulder blouse that is decorated with flowers. Maria also wears a long red skirt sporting wide, curvy hips with a yellow band at the bottom and top and a pair of black boots. And she still wears the same necklace.
At her wedding, she wears a simple, white dress and white boots.
Maria is a spirited & rebellious young woman who values independence and freedom, having been this way since she was a child. In her youth, Maria had a tendency to act without thinking things first, which used to get her in trouble despite her good intentions.
Maria is not a stereotypical "damsel in distress" and is by no means defenseless - she is able to stand up for herself on more than one occasion and knows kung fu and fencing. Maria is also very caring and compassionate to those around her and is willing to put the town's safety before her own happiness. She has a deep love for animals; to the point of not eating meat at all . She is also a cultured and intelligent woman who enjoys reading.
In the Book of Life
She first appeared in the film as a young child, watching her best friends Manolo and Joaquín fight for her affection. When La Muerte and Xibalba saw the three, the two decided to make a bet on who would win Maria's heart. Xibalba immediately chose Joaquín as he was impressed with Joaquín's strength and desire to be a great hero (and his somewhat show-off nature) while La Muerte chose Manolo, due to his sensitive and kind nature.
Maria is later seen with Manolo and Joaquín as they walk around the town of San Angel and pass by the pig pens where the pigs are ready to be slaughtered. Not wanting that to happen, she releases them, causing havoc in the town square and angering her father. She does not regret her actions but feels guilty that she broke Manolo's first guitar. Her father then decides to send her away to study with the nuns in Spain in order to curb her rebellious behaviour and become a proper young lady. When she is sent off, her father cries and excuses himself. Manolo and Joaquín also come and Manolo gives Maria the baby piglet Chuy that she was fond of while she gives Manolo a new guitar with the words "Always play from the heart. -Love Maria" inscribed on the back. While she rides the train, her bonnet is loose and Joaquín catches it, keeping it as a memento when he fails to give it back to her.
Maria returns to San Angel ten years later having grown into a beautiful young woman, catching the eye of every guy in San Angel (even Xibalba, much to La Muerte's annoyance and jealousy). She attends Manolo's first bullfight and is concerned when she believes Manolo will kill the bull. While the rest of the townspeople of San Angel jeer and boo at Manolo for not killing the bull, Maria applauds his compassionate gesture. Later, when everyone has left, she hears Manolo sing about how he feels like he will never fit in and be accepted for being true to himself ("Creep" song) and feels sorry for him.
Maria later attends her father's grand welcome home party celebrating her return, but is annoyed when she finds out her father is also arranging for her to marry Joaquín. She also becomes annoyed with his sexist views of women and goes to her room. Here Manolo's friends try to help Manolo win her heart, much to her annoyance and amusement. Manolo decides to sing her his own song and she seems to be won over, but she teases him by saying "You think it was going to be that easy?" and pushing him off her balcony. She holds his guitar and promises to give it back to him. When she reaches the bottom of the stairs, Joaquín proposes to Maria. General Posada mentions that Joaquín is the only one who can protect San Angel from Chakal. Manolo then enters the building, with Joaquín thinking Manolo had already proposed. After a small argument, a fight between Joaquín and Manolo starts over their affection for her. Maria intervenes and stops the fight, saying she has also learned fencing. Soon, some of Chakal's men threaten San Angel and she is ready to fight along Manolo's side to protect the town, but Joaquín takes care of everything. General Posada once more pushes Maria to accept Joaquín's proposal for the sake of the town, forcing her to flirt with him, breaking Manolo's heart.
Later that night, Manolo once more goes to her porch and asks her to meet him once more outside town. She reluctantly agrees and follows a path of white wax candles, leading to Manolo singing about his love for her. He shows her the view of San Angel when the sun shines over it, creating a beautiful spectacle and describes this as the feeling he gets when he's with her. Maria returns his affection and states she will always love a man who plays from the heart and accepts his proposal. However, Xibalba interrupts this by sending a two headed snake to bite her, causing her to pass out and fall unconscious. Manolo, believing her to be dead, brings her to Joaquín and General Posada who also believe she is dead and blames Manolo for her death. Manolo sacrifices his life to be with Maria in the Land of the Remembered only to discover he has been tricked. Maria regains consciousness after Joaquín kisses her forehead, with his medal of everlasting life touching her skin thus reviving her. She is very deeply heartbroken to hear Manolo is dead and decides to marry Joaquín to protect the town, as she can no longer be with Manolo.
Maria is not seen again until her almost wedding with Joaquín, where Chakal and his army of banditos interrupt the wedding ceremony and proceed to steal back the medal of everlasting life. She rallies the towns people together with an inspiring speech, to then soon be reunited with Manolo, who has been resurrected after completing his trial to see if he was worthy of regaining his life and engages her in a passionate kiss before she and the townspeople engage in the fight against Chakal and his army of banditos. During the fight, Chakal grabs Maria and tells Joaquín and Manolo to bring the magic medal or he will kill her (which earns a disgruntled comment from Maria) but Manolo (with the help of his family) climbs to the top of the building and frees her while the two dance and fight Chakal. Manolo decides to sacrifice himself after seeing that Chakal is going to use the bombs on his chest to blow up himself and the town of San Angel with him. Manolo and Joaquín restrain him while Manolo pushes Joaquín away and topples the bell onto him and Chakal in order to protect the town from the explosions of the bomb. He faces Maria and tells her not to forget him.
However, when Manolo appears lost, the bell is pushed aside and Manolo is revealed to be alive due to being given the medal of eternal everlasting life by Joaquín. The two are soon married as her father accepts Manolo as his son in law and they joyfully sing and celebrate with the town of San Angel.
Maria and Manolo have been best friends since they were children and the two often played together with Joaquín. Before she was sent to Europe, Maria gives Manolo a gift: a new guitar, enscribed "Always play from the heart - Maria". Manolo promises to wait for her return, a promise he keeps. Both kept in contact by letters .
After ten years, when Maria returns to San Ángel, she is disappointed when Manolo dedicate her a bullfight instead of the song he promised her; fearing that Manolo has renounced music in favor of the tradition of his family of bullfighters. But that fear is vanished when Manolo refuses to kill the bull (for which she applauds him animatedly) and hearing him sing when he believes that all the spectators are gone.
Although it is obvious that she loves Manolo, she does not make things easy for him. As when Manolo touches a serenade for her on her balcony and leans down to kiss her, but she stops him and says affectionately: "It will take more than that". Her affection for him also does not prevent her from reprimanding him when he gets into a fight with Joaquin, and she points out that "both" are behaving like fools. She was completely devastated by the news that Manolo had died. Believing she had lost the love of her life, she agreed to marry Joaquín so that he would stay to protect San Ángel.
However, when Manolo returns to life, their love is revived and they come together to protect San Angel, and they fight together against the bandit known as Chakal. Showing how strong their bond is and how willing they are to protect each other.
Maria and Joaquín have been best friends since childhood; Joaquín also favors Maria and competes with Manolo for her affections. While Maria does care for Joaquín, she is disgusted and turned off by his sexist views of women and their roles in society, which effectively squash any fleeting romantic feelings she might have felt for him.
Although she truly loves Manolo, she still appreciates Joaquín as a good friend.
General Posada is Maria's father. His only wish is for her to be more "lady-like"; he is constantly angered by her rebellious and reckless attitude. He sends her away to study with the nuns in Spain so she will grow up to be a proper young lady. However, despite General Posada's attempts, Maria remains a passionate spirit with a rebellious streak. He favors Joaquín over Manolo and attempts to get Maria to marry the former, so he would stay to protect their town. Despite all of this, it was shown he genuinely cared for her very much as he cried after seeing her off to go to the sisters and was deeply heartbroken when she died, to the point where he banishes Manolo as he believes it to be his fault for not properly protecting her.
By the end of the film, the General seems to have accepted his daughter for who she is, saying that "[She's] like the son I never had.. but much prettier!"
Chuy was a piglet that was to be slaughtered at the town's butchershop. His sad eyes caused Maria (with the help from Joaquín and Manolo) to release him and other other animals when she was a child. When Maria leaves for Europe, Manolo presents the piglet to her as a gift. Chuy returns with Maria (albeit much larger) to San Angel after several years. Chuy is very loyal to Maria, warding her of men who attempt to win her heart.
|General Posada||Dora Luz Ramirez|
|Unnamed sibling||Maria Posada||Manolo Sánchez|
|Unnamed twin girl one||Unnamed twin girl two||Unnamed baby boy|
- After the events of the movie, Manolo and Maria had 3 kids, twin girls and a boy. 
- Maria and Manolo wrote to each other during the time she was in Spain. 
- Maria is loosely based on Jorge's wife, Sandra. There are also parallels in how Sandra's father didn't want them to be together. (she had a 10 pm curfew when she was 22!)
- In The Book of Life Art Book, it is stated that she has the signature Sánchez curls near her eyes, signifying that she only has eyes for Manolo Sánchez.
- According to Jorge R. Gutierrez, he responds on his Twitter webpage account that Maria:
- Loves reading poetry and comics.
- Her artistic talent is drawing and painting.
- Her mother, Mrs. Posada, is divorced to her ex-husband General Posada before the film's prologue. She left the town of San Angel and moved to Spain before the film's prologue and was implied that she is still alive and still currently living in Spain near the end of the film, ironically.
- Maria's necklace was given to her by her mother who lives in Barcelona. 
- Maria's mother was apparently on the train with her on the day Maria left San Angel. 
- It can be implied that her name is now Maria Sánchez since she married Manolo.
- On some official posters, parts of her neck and arms are connected, line-less.
- After the movie Manolo and Maria moved in with her father, though it didn't last for long. They then move into Joaquin's mansion .