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Grade: A-4. 5 starsWhen Jasmine wins a prestigious scholarship, her parents finally tell her that they are undocumented workers. Although she’s been in the country for over a decade, she doesn’t have the green card necessary to accept the money. Jasmine is dating Royce, the son of a powerful congressperson pushing anti-immigrant legislation. Suddenly her carefully planned life is filled with uncertainty. Though Filipino, Jasmine is an all-American girl–cheerleading captain, National Scholarship winner, likely valedictorian, volunteer and all around nice girl. She gets along well with her parents and brothers (mostly) and is often the voice of reason among her friends. She’s also an imperfect character. She jumps to conclusions, often lacks communication skills and can be judgmental. I enjoyed her relationship with Royce much more than that with her best friend. Melissa de la Cruz, a former undocumented student, does a great job of creating sympathy for Jasmine and her family. Readers will understand the challenges her parents face, even if they don’t agree with the decision to remain in the country after their visas expired. While she balanced out Royce’s father’s anti-immigrant stance, we never say below the surface as to why he felt so strongly. I liked how he showed he was not a monster about Jasmine. SOMETHING IN BETWEEN held my interested with engaging writing and an even pace. I enjoyed Jasmine’s voice, rooted her family, and for her romance. I thought at times de la Cruz was too optimistic about how accepting everyone was of her immigration status. The public seems a lot less sympathetic than portrayed in the book. I also thought parts of the story were predictable. SOMETHING IN BETWEEN is an important book, because it personifies the immigration debate with a sympathetic main character and engaging storytelling. Check it out!
From School Library Journal Gr 6–10—Jasmine is valedictorian, a scholarship winner, and captain of a Nationals-winning cheer squad. Her Filipino family are close-knit, and they live in L.A. Her crush is the son of a senator, and he’s sweet and devoted. Her college essay is about her storytelling project with terminally ill seniors. Early into the book, readers learn that Jasmine and her family are undocumented. Jasmine is not eligible for the financial aid she would need to attend college, and she and her family face the real threat of being deported. The plot unfolds with Jasmine’s boyfriend’s father’s anti-immigrant Congressional bill being shot down and the family’s lawyer telling them that the odds are against them being able to stay in the United States. Through a series of extremely fortuitous developments, Jas receives a full ride to Stanford, a university that reviews international students’ applications without regard to their financial need. Her romantic troubles also end happily. De la Cruz received a need-blind scholarship to Columbia. She shares in an author’s note more details on how this story is semiautobiographical, which will make the narrative richer for some readers. Though the work centers on a high school senior, the romance is chaste and the plot is not too complex, making this a great choice for younger teens. VERDICT Jasmine’s tale feels too good to be true, but this possible shortcoming is offset by the timeliness and importance of the immigration issues raised and explained. This book belongs in every middle school library.—Amy Thurow, New Glarus School District, WI –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Something in Between (Harlequin Teen) Paperback – June 27, 2017 by Melissa de la Cruz (Author) Review
Something in Between is a timely novel that is so relevant to the political environment in our country today and a must read. Jasmine’s life is turned upside down when she realizes that she and her family are in America, illegally. Her whole life she thought that they had green cards. She worked hard, was top in her class and ran herself ragged to be the best and to do everything from class president to cheer captain. It all seemed to pay off when she received a scholarship that would allow her to attend any college in the US, until her parents informed her that she wouldn’t be able to accept. Couldn’t accept, because she was an illegal immigrant. Life turned upside down, Jasmine must figure out what to do and how to come to terms with her changed identity. Then Jas falls for the son of a politician who is spearheading the fights against undocumented workers. How will she reconcile her new self-identity in the world she lives in? Will she and her family be able to stay in America will they be forced to move back to the Philippines, a country her brothers have never known. And, will all of her hard work be for naught because she cannot find a way to attend college? Find out in this young adult/teen contemporary fiction novel about family, friends and growing up. -Read Reviews-
This book was everything. As a Filipino American I have never read a book about my culture until this. This book proves that representation matters. I related to all the Filipino parts. I loved the use of Tagalog words and Filipino food throughout the novel. One of my favorite quotes was when Jasmine described her brother as being louder and more dramatic than anybody else, which really means something when you come from a Filipino family (40). That is so damn true. Thank you so much Melissa de la Cruz for writing this book. Ive been waiting for her to write another book about the Filipino experience and this book couldnt have been any more timely. It perfectly encapsulates the experiences undocumented immigrants go through. I really felt Jasmines frustration. Overall, this is a must read for young adults in todays world and hopefully this book can inspire future leaders to make positive changes in regards to immigration.
Tags: Asia, Children: Young Adult (Gr. 7-9), Clean & Wholesome, Emigration & Immigration, General, Harlequin Teen, Melissa de la Cruz, People & Places, People & Places - Asia, Romance, Romance - Clean & Wholesome, Social Themes, Social Themes - Emigration & Immigration, Something in Between (Harlequin Teen), Sports & Recreation, Sports & Recreation - General, YOUNG ADULT FICTION