Saturday, 24 September 2016

Book Review: Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz

Read: September 22-24  Verdict: 4.5 Stars

Jasmine De Los Santos is the All-American girl. She’s cheer captain, a shoe-in for valedictorian and a top-class student who has just won the prestigious National Scholar award but then Jasmine’s world crumbles when she finds out she is undocumented.

“I love my country. I love America. Being American is as much a part of me as breathing.”
This was a really great book and really gave me a look into the struggles and fears of being being an undocumented immigrant in the States, or indeed in any country in the world. Jasmine is perfect - almost too perfect. She is cheer captain, valedictorian, popular, beautiful, really, really clever but she definitely goes through a momentous journey of self-discovery once she finds out she’s an “illegal alien”. Jasmine’s identity crumbles and we are really with her along the way as she has to pick up piece by piece of herself and figure out who she is now.

“'I don’t even know who I am anymore.’I really don’t. I feel like a ghost in my own country. No matter what I do, I feel like I’m fading, like I’m becoming a shadow.”
I liked Jasmine’s strong roots with her Filipino background and family. A lot of her experiences with her family seem very close to what I would expect of families from different cultures. She’s encouraged to be American and strive for the American dream but she still needs to be a good Filipino girl who doesn’t go to parties and kiss boys, etc. She loves the Philippines and misses her family vacations to Manila. But that doesn’t mean she wants to live there. Jasmine is torn in a lot of way, she’s not Filipino, but suddenly she’s not American either. Who is she?

I really loved Jasmine’s relationship with Royce. I liked that it was going all sorts of ways at first because it was a text communication and it felt very real. They were just so super cute and I really enjoyed all of their best moments and when they weren’t at their best, I wanted them to make-up. I like that,because this book spans almost an entire year, we see a lot of the ups and downs of their very real relationships. They fight with each other and almost break up a few times over silly things like everyone has done with their partner but eventually they both come around, meet up and apologise They actually talked a lot of stuff out with each other all the time which was refreshing for a YA romance where we normally see things being bottled up for way too long. Their romance just seemed like the real deal to me - plus, I can totally see them being a power couple when they’re older.

“Most of all, I like how he looks into my eyes like he’s seeing past the image everyone else sees into who I really am beyond all the things that I do. And he thinks I’m beautiful.”
I do think this book got a little bit long-winded at times and there were times I wanted Jasmine to stop waffling on and get to the point of things or let me know what was going on with the stuff that was actually important to the plot of the story. This story does take place over the course of the year so a lot of stuff happens, I just don’t think Jasmine needed to describe every single thing. I also wasn’t mad for the side-plot that was Mason. It was a bit predictive and boring, and there were parts I didn’t think made that much sense about him.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I loved the story but I also enjoyed that it was a diverse book that opened my eyes into how some things around undocumented immigrants are handled in the States and how unfair some of the cases can be. i also liked the brief forays in the Filipino traditions and food, etc that Jasmine’s family indulged in.

“I’ve come to think of America as an open window - open to new possibilities, to the new life promised to those who journey from far away to reach its shores."

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