A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.
Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much — except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There’s too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she’s an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives
I had that sudden impulse to discontinue when things went too mushy way too quickly. But I pushed through the initial discontentment thinking maybe there was reason why it needed to establish the relationship quite early in the game. Well, there was, but to me, the romance as merely an accessory to the conflict later on & that didn’t totally satisfy me.
This book has that kind of set-up where the boy is from an esteemed family that fell in love with the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. One would already guess that there’s gonna be lot of hindrances ahead. For one, the guy was the nephew of senator that firmly supported law against illegal immigrants; and so, it was the quite an irony when he fell in love with a girl who was undocumented. They were eager to find a way to make her legal, even though at the start she felt hopeless that she’ll able to have that status. But for him, he’ll find a way for them to be together.
It was really tough on her part; living in constant fear that they’ll be caught. Being an undocumented brought lot of consequences even if their only desire was to have a better life. I knew a bit about illegal immigrants. I’ve watched few documentaries regarding Filipinos living abroad illegally. And I can’t completely fault them on their wish to better their lives (even if the method was wrong). Life here in my country is hard; seeking for greener for pasture in order to survive is a choice they need to make. There are legal ways but it’ll take time—long time. So at most, I understand the girl’s struggles and difficulties more than the guy’s drama at home. He did have some burdens but I think it wasn’t as significant as the girl’s.
The fast romantic development paved way to making their decisions more concrete; as if reasoning their feelings for each other as an adjunction to the possible answers to their problems. The guy was willing to sacrifice for her, to give him her his name so they can’t be apart, but she opted out. Even with her sound intention, the thin relationship development made it so unconvincing (guy went saying something like it came from John Meyer’s Your Body Is A Wonderland lyrics & that sudden protectiveness; and I was only at page 34!). Although I kind of understand her (but at some selfish thought I still saw it as passing a chance & as I said, they guy was so keen to give her security). But in the end, their decision sort of made sense; probably not the most ideal for some but willing to start on clean slate is I think what they really need (after all that happened).
Format: Advance Reader’s Copy
Preview Quote: “and because I can’t imagine living without her even for a day. And because I don’t want her to lose everything she has had worked so hard for—everything you have worked so hard for.”