Happy Thursday, part 2!
As a part of the Dream Things True blog tour, we're also reviewing the book today.
I went into the book knowing that I would probably like it, but was still surprised at Marie's ability to write a romance that was moving, and reflective of some of the real-world immigration issues that we're seeing today.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin
Format read: ARC via publisher
Through Evan and Alma's unlikely relationship, Marie Marquardt shares and humanizes an often difficult and heartbreaking odyssey, playing out throughout our nation.
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.
In Dream Things True, YA debut author Marie Marquardt introduces us to Alma and Evan, two teens from opposite sides of the societal spectrum. Alma's a talented student with a large family, but is also undocumented. Evan's the nephew of a conservative Senator, and has the world at his finger tips.
When the two of them meet and fall for each other, Evan and Alma quickly learn about the complications involved with their relationships, and how their reality is just a microcosm of a story that is playing out throughout the nation...
While Dream Things True starts off on a somewhat familiar path: a couple from the opposite side of the tracks fall for each other, and struggle to justify their relationship to family and loved ones; it's Marquardt's careful incorporation of the immigration debate and related societal issues, which makes the story stand out.
Even as Evan and Alma are in the throes of new love, Marquardt gently points out that their relationship is very much defined (and judged!) by socioeconomics. We see this when Alma is the odd-person out at Evan's family's get-together, and we also see this when Evan has opportunities - including the ability to call in favors from law enforcement - that Alma does not.
While much of Marquardt's inference is subtle, the message is clear: there's an unequal dynamic in their relationship, which makes Evan and Alma's struggles to stay together all the more realistic, but also very, very heartbreaking.
Though the relationship itself ends on something of an abrupt note, Marquardt has done a great job in reinforcing that there are Evans and Almas cross the nation, and asking us to question the policies and legislation that helps define each of their lives. It's a difficult topic for young adult literature, but Marquardt tackles it well.
Evan and Alma's relationship has all the highs-and-lows of a typical teenaged relationship, but it's their willigness to challenge all expectations and obstacles to pursue that relationship, which makes their story memorable.
Strongly recommend for readers who are looking to better understand a challenging, real-world through a very humanized story.
About the author:
MARIE MARQUARDT is a Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University's Candler School of Theology and the author of Living Illegal: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration. She is widely published on issues of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. South. Marquardt has also worked as an advocate among immigrants in Atlanta. She is a founder and co-chair of El Refugio, a hospitality house near the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. Dream Things True is Marie's first young adult novel.