When I read the description of this book I knew it was something that I had to read. Because of this, I’m so happy to be a stop on this book’s Blog tour.
Thank you to Penguin Teen, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, Alexandra Villasante, and netgalley for the advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest review.
Summary: After their brother, Pablo, is murdered by a gang in El Salvador, Marisol and her sister, Gabi, are sent to the U.S. by their mother in the hopes of escaping gang persecution. Unfortunately Marisol and Gaby are caught before crossing the border and are kept in a detention center where Marisol applies for asylum. Their application for asylum doesn’t go through so Marisol thinks that their time in the U.S. has come to an end. Luckily for her and Gaby the government offers them a proposition that would not only grant them both asylum but also allow her mother to come to the U.S. too. The government has begun testing a new device that would help veterans with PTSD and are ready to begin testing on human subjects. Is Marisol going to agree to this proposition? Is it going to work? Will the government keep their promise to Marisol about granting her and her family asylum?
Thoughts: I haven’t read many stories about immigration because I thought that I wouldn’t be able to relate to them because that is not my story. I was glad that I gave this story a try because I love it. Even if it isn’t my story I am still able to empathize with Marisol as she tries to protect her younger sister.
The relationships that Marisol builds with everyone that she comes across really allow you to understand where she is coming from and how her background informs her actions. Something that I really enjoyed in this book was the exploration of sexual orientation and how different countries respond to LGBTQ+ individuals. Each scene in which Marisol talks about her sexuality really struck my heart and I had to pause to really take it in. It was a shock to see the harsh reality of being a lesbian in another country and watching as the people she was closest to push her away because of her sexuality.
Something else that I really enjoyed about this book was the importance of language. I enjoyed that the characters spoke in Spanglish throughout the book because it helped you see how important their culture was to them. I also liked the Spanglish that was used because it felt familiar and it was a story about people like me. It made it feel like this was a story that very much could have been mine if my parents hadn’t come to the U.S. at such a young age.
Another point in which you see the importance of language is every time Dr. Deng is speaking with Marisol using scientific jargon. I thought this was a great addition because if you don’t have psychology knowledge you are reading this through Marisol’s eyes and are understanding just as much as she does.
I love that this story is told through the first person point of view because it feels more personal. A first person point of view allows you to feel like you are there with the characters and this is all happening to you. In the case of this story it really allowed you to feel how Marisol felt as a child and gave you a childlike perspective.
Overall what really drew me in and made me want to recommend this book to others were the themes that were covered throughout the book. I enjoyed the commentary that this book made on immigration, our current political climate and the exploration of immigrants and refugees. I liked how the book dealt with the topic of grief , sexual orientation, PTSD, depression, and classism, it dealt with these topics in a realistic way and didn’t beat around the bush when it came to discussing these topics.
This book will be available on June 11th, 2019.
You can pre-order this book now with Penguin Random House.