Book Review: Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

Author: Melissa de la Cruz

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release date: October 4, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 432 pages

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

synopsis

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own.

SPOILERS MAY LIE AHEAD. PROCEED WITH CAUTION DEARIES.

Something in Between is what I needed after a tough week in the U.S. It tells a compelling and realistic story of an undocumented teen and how her status affects her future, the view of herself, and ultimately the resolve to fight. As a daughter of immigrants, I could relate to Jasmine and her family in a way that is unparalleled to any other character I ever read. My parents had to file and wait for citizenship, a process that isn’t easy just as Jasmine discovered throughout the story.

There are countless of stories that mirror Jasmine’s in real life. For those of us who are natural-born citizens, it is easy to forget that we are privileged – that we have an abundance of opportunities compared to our undocumented counterparts. Life Jasmine’s family – the reason they left the Philippines was to seek a better life full of endless possibilities and opportunity.

The rawness and authenticity of this story pulled at my heart and I cried. I am crying as I write this. I had a bucket full of empathy for Jasmine and her situation. I also really loved how she handled the hurdles that were thrown her way. This is contemporary and it has fluff, but it also heavily conveys the issues of immigration, identity, stereotypes, and the oppression of minority groups in the U.S.

Melissa de la Cruz weaved all these issues in the story seamlessly. She didn’t push her views down my throat, rather, she demonstrated it through Jasmine. Because of her “illegal” status, Jasmine began to question who she was, letting the fear of not having a paper that said she was a citizen contradict her feeling of being American. She also wondered how she would be treated by her race because she did not speak Tagalog (her native Filipino tongue) fluently. Lastly, the oppression of minority groups is seen in the story’s antagonist, Mason Blakely. Jasmine is targeted by his racist remarks.

As the story still lies in the realm of contemporary, there was a budding romance that made my heart melt – that gave me light. Royce Blakely isn’t your typical male protagonist. He is Mexican-American, dyslexic, and unbelievably adorable. He is charming without being arrogant. He is sweet without being obsessive. He is everything that Jasmine doesn’t need, but wants anyway. THAT is love. I love how they aren’t dependent on each other to live. There are also some definitely swoon-worthy moments that you’ll definitely have to see for yourself!

Then, there is an overwhelming amount of support – not just within Jasmine’s family, and they are pretty much a family I’d love to be a part of! but also regarding her peers. I think that’s an important idea to portray. A person should be judged by their character and not by the color of their skin, status, gender, ect.

Lastly, one of my favorite things about Something in Between were the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. They inspired me to never give up and to act. I cannot sit idly, while the world around me is in chaos.

This is one of those reads that you have to read – to gain knowledge and understanding of a facet within immigration. If you’re wondering what happens to Jasmine and her family, well…that’s something I am unwilling to give away 😛 Something in Between will stay with me for a long time and I will always remember how it gave me an insight on immigration and Filipino culture.

My friend Sue @ Hollywood New’s Source wrote a beautifully detailed review of this novel. She further analyzes the topics I listed and gives textual evidence.

As for me, I give this lovely read…

addy5starUntil next time,

Emma

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1 Comment

  1. Great Review!! 🙂

    Reply

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