Normally Melissa de la Cruz writes paranormal fantasy thrillers, but today she releases a contemporary book called Something in Between. I was fortunate enough to get an advanced reading copy, and well...I love it!!! This was an ideal read during last weekend’s rainy days. Melissa de la Cruz teams up with Harlequin Teen Publishers and Seventeen Magazine in order to promote this engaging teen novel via social media. TAG groups across Ottawa Public Library have received some awesome book swag kits that involve posters, bookmarks, pins, and pencils in order to help promote this book title. Keep an eye out for this swag! This young adult story is about Jasmine (Jas) de los Santos; a California senior head cheerleader; a beautiful, smart, Filipino teen, who is always on top of her game (and her cheerleading team pyramids!). However, Jas’ life comes crashing down when she is awarded a full national scholarship. At this time, she finds out from her parents that she and her entire family are actually illegal immigrants.
"What happens to illegals in this country? I'm afraid we're about to find out" (de la Cruz: pg.72).
This timely, thought provoking, teen fiction novel looks at the complex reality of being young and undocumented in the United States of America. Jasmine is painfully aware of the anti-immigrant forces she's up against, especially as she and her family hope the new immigration reform bill will pass, allowing them to stay, work, and study in the USA. With the 2016 United States presidential election on its way between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, this work of fiction fits perfectly not only with its theme but also publication date. As the de los Santos family’s Visas expired years ago, Jasmine’s new goal is to make her mark with the President of the United States at the National Scholar Award reception in Washington, D.C. Here she hopes of getting the immigration reform bill to pass as the threat of deportation lurks in her family’s vicinity.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign vision for his immigration policy does not help the fate of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. What Donald Trump has said about Mexico and vice versa is: "For those here today illegally who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and only one route: to return home and apply for re-entry under the rules of the new legal immigration system" (CNN: 2016). Like other illegal alien immigrants, Jasmine’s sense of identity is compromised. Nevertheless, her faith is restored when Millie (one of her storytelling project terminally ill seniors) declares she is truly deserving of this opportunity because she earned it!
As Jasmine begins a relationship with the son of a congressman who’s against the immigration reform bill, typical teenage drama, friendships, and social issues emerge. This fictional title is a great choice for any teen and/or young adult wanting a coming-of-age story that involves political reality and also a dash of drama and romance. I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars based on de la Cruz’s clear writing, appropriateness and importance of immigration issues, which ends with a feel-good conclusion. Readers will cheer for Jasmine and her family during this current social and political issue. Many individuals, immigrant or not, can relate to the hardships Jasmine is facing, such as family pressure to succeed, first love, and camaraderie within your community. A MUST READ! Enjoy!
Blog Picture by: Daisy Calloway (2016)