Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1846
Easy vs. Honest
Overall rating 
 
2.7
Plot 
 
2.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
The topic of undocumented immigrants is not an easy one to bring up, even in fiction. Melissa de la Cruz's newest novel Something in Between takes on that challenge, with a personal foundation: de la Cruz's own experiences with green cards and US immigration.

In her junior year of high school, Jasmine finds out that she and her family are undocumented, and that all of the things she's been working towards are not available to her because of her status. It's a scary situation, and one that hasn't really been explored in YA fiction. What can teens do if they find out they've been undocumented all along? What kind of future could they have?

de la Cruz centers Jasmine as a perfect student, with a loving Filipino family, and I was delighted to see them. While I didn't need a lot of the explanations and set-up explaining Filipino customs and culture, I appreciated having them there for teen readers who might not as familiar. Jasmine was an earnest character, almost painfully so, and her optimism comes through quite easily on the page. She does read a bit younger than 17, with interjections and dialogue that can be jarring for the reader.

The plot itself--how will Jas keep her family from getting deported in the face of a new law?--is thin, and not as detailed as I would have liked. It doesn't need to be dense paragraphs of text explaining the law, but the sense of urgency never leaps off the page, and I never really worried about Jasmine and her family.

Everything comes a little too easily for Jas for it to be believable, though de la Cruz does provide some context for that. She's a model minority of a character: an excellent student, involved in extracurriculars, well-liked, always honest, always deferential to authority. None of these things are bad, and none of these things make Jas a bad character. But these qualities are used as justification for people's treatment of her, because how can a girl so perfectly perfect ever be deported? It's not a fair judgment of undocumented immigrants, as it stacks the cards against those who would still benefit from stability and a place in life, even if their pasts aren't quite as squeaky clean as Jasmine's.

The romance is entwined with Jasmine's predicament, and doesn't feel very real or engaging, again because of how easy everything works out. Stakes are raised to a minimum, and handled without too much fuss. Perhaps Something in Between is the perfect title for this book, as it doesn't manage to commit to the harsh realities of undocumented immigrants, insisting instead on boundless optimism.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

My Love is All Around
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Mommy Bear shows Baby Bear how love is all around...
I'm not a Mouse!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia really doesn't like her nickname - mostly because it...
My Panda Sweater
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The other kids may laugh, but I always feel safe...
One Day on our Blue Planet... In the Outback
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From breakfast to dinner, dusk to dawn, children will love...
Mrs Bibi's Elephant
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A heartwarming story with a message as big as an...
The State of Us
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
"Dre and Dean have got my vote!"—Adib Khorram, award-winning...
My Calamity Jane
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to 1876 America, a place bursting with gunslingers,...
Little Creeping Things
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
A compulsively readable debut with a narrator you just...
Fae's Deception (Queens of the Fae Book 1)
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Brea Robinson is a murderer. That’s what everyone tells...
The Forgotten World (The World Apart Series Book 3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Clark thought he knew what grief was. Addie thought...
Artemis Fowl: Guide to the World of Fairies
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This beautifully illustrated novel is a compendium of Artemis Fowl's...
The Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning...
Personalized Notebook Doodles Adorable Pets Coloring Book
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From hamsters and hermit crabs to cats and canaries, you'll...
The Last Summer
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
For the first eleven years of their lives, neighbors Lila...
The Falling in Love Montage
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two girls embark on a summer of montage-worthy dates (with...
Super Puzzletastic Mysteries: Short Stories for Young Sleuths from Mystery Writers of America
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bestselling author Chris Grabenstein and the Mystery Writers of America...

Latest Member Reviews

My Love is All Around
 
4.5
"MY LOVE IS ALL AROUND is a sweet book about love between parent and child and the many ways in..."
I'm not a Mouse!
 
4.0
"I'M NOT A MOUSE! is a cute picture book about nicknames. Olivia's mother always calls her mouse, and she doesn't..."
My Panda Sweater
 
5.0
"MY PANDA SWEATER is a lovely book about the way that clothes can affect us. A young girl loves her..."
One Day on our Blue Planet... In the Outback
 
4.0
"ONE DAY ON OUR BLUE PLANET... IN THE OUTBACK is a picture book that follows a red kangaroo joey through..."
Mrs Bibi's Elephant
 
5.0
"MRS BIBI'S ELEPHANT is a sweet story about the special place we have in our hearts for our pets. Mrs...."
Artemis Fowl: Guide to the World of Fairies
 
4.0
""Written" by dwarf Nord Diggums with contributions from experts in the field of magical creatures such as Professor Ivana Therey..."
Super Puzzletastic Mysteries: Short Stories for Young Sleuths from Mystery Writers of America
 
5.0
"Short story collections are hard to review, especially when one includes so many fantastic authors! My students will be glad..."
Daniela and the Pirate Girls
 
3.5
"DANIELA AND THE PIRATE GIRLS is a fun high-seas adventure about helping others and making new friends. Daniela is the..."
Child of Galaxies
 
4.0
"CHILD OF GALAXIES is a lovely poem about life and the broad meaning of it all. The poem begins by..."
Shy Ones
 
5.0
"SHY ONES is a sweet look at friendship and the people (or sea creatures) who are shy. The story is..."
Once Upon an Eid
 
5.0
"This collection has a wide variety of stories about different aspects of Eid, and is particularly poignant during this time..."
Slamdown Town
 
4.0
"Ollie is in 6th grade and is small for his age. His older brother, Hollis, is in 8th, and has..."
Ragweed and Poppy
 
3.5
"RAGWEED AND POPPY is an interesting middle grade novel that follows Ragweed, a mouse who is on a journey. Ragweed..."
The Right Place
 
3.5
"THE RIGHT PLACE is a picture book that stresses the importance of friends and home. Squirrel wakes up after a..."
I'm Sorry!
 
5.0
"I'M SORRY! is a fantastic picture book about apologizing and compromise. Swoop and Scribble are an owl and squirrel who..."
It's Impossible!
 
4.0
"IT'S IMPOSSIBLE! is a delightful road trip picture book that asserts things are only impossible if you say that they..."
The More We Get Together
 
5.0
"THE MORE WE GET TOGETHER takes the song and adds verses about how children can change the world. The book..."
Good Night, Moon 123 / Buenas Noches, Luna 123: A Counting Book / Un Libro para Contar
 
3.5
"GOODNIGHT, MOON 123 / BUENAS NOCHES, LUNA 123 is a fun counting book themed from the bedtime favorite, GOODNIGHT MOON...."
The Hideout
 
5.0
"If you are a fan of “Where the Wild Things Are” you will love “The Hideout” written by Susanna Mattiangeli..."
Circus Girl
 
3.0
"CIRCUS GIRL is a book about Sky, who dreams of being the star of the circus. The book begins when..."