The Secret Side of Empty by Marie S. Andreu
"What's it like to be undocumented? High school senior M.T. knows all too well. With graduation and an uncertain future looming, she must figure out how to grow up in the only country she's ever called home... a country in which she's "illegal."
M.T. was born in Argentina and brought to America as a baby without any official papers. And as questions of college, work, and the future arise, M.T. will have to decide what exactly she wants for herself, knowing someone she loves will unavoidably pay the price for it. On the way, M.T. must navigate first love, letting go of her childhood friends as they begin a life she can't share, a difficult relationship with a father who grew up a world away and a mother struggling to find her way in America. What is it like when the only country you've ever known says you don't belong?"- summary from Amazon
Andreu's debut is simply amazing and the topic is so original and compelling. I was completely immersed in the story and even told several people about it. M.T.'s voice is fascinating and it's seeing an aspect of an issue that we don't normally see. Andreu, using her own personal experience, is able to write a lot of emotion, truth and even some humor into this story. There's a lot of ground to cover here too; not only does Andreu cover illegal immigration, there's also physical and emotional abuse as well as suicide discussed. It's a lot to put in one book, but she does a fantastic job juggling all of these and giving them room to develop.
Overall, I cannot recommend this book enough. It's a strong debut and I'm so eager to read more from Andreu!
FTC: Received hardcover from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.