9 Mar 2015

The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu

I have so not been in a reading/blogging mood of late, thanks to my terrible book slump and a little thing called life. But I read a book a while ago that I’d like to tell you about. A little book called, The Secret Side of Empty. It also happens to be a diverse and underrated title! Shall I continue?

As a straight-A student with a budding romance and loyal best friend, M.T.’s life seems as apple-pie American as her blondish hair and pale skin. But M.T. hides two facts to the contrary: her full name of Monserrat Thalia and her status as an undocumented immigrant. 

But it’s harder to hide now that M.T.’s a senior. Her school’s National Honor Society wants her to plan their trip abroad, her best friend won’t stop bugging her to get her driver’s license, and all everyone talks about is where they want to go to college. M.T. is pretty sure she can’t go to college, and with high school ending and her family life unraveling, she’s staring down a future that just seems empty. In the end, M.T. will need to trust herself and others to stake a claim in the life that she wants.

Author Maria E. Andreu draws from her personal experience as a (formerly) undocumented immigrant to explore an issue that affects over one million children in the U.S. But while the subject matter is timely, it is M.T.’s sharp, darkly funny voice and longing for a future that makes this story universally poignant.
I heard about this title last year, but no one I knew or followed had read it. Yet…it had glowing, 5-star reviews on Goodreads. So you can see why I had to pick this one up and discovered it for myself! I’m glad I did; it’s definitely underrated. And I didn’t expect it to get under my skin the way it did. You know how you usually have a fair idea if a book will make you cry? Well, if you'd asked me if I wanted to borrow some tissues I would have politely declined. Suffice to say, it took me by surprise.

To be honest, the whole subject matter of immigration and illegals isn’t one I know much about or have knowledge on, only related-bits and pieces I’ve heard on the news. But for something so big and worthy of discussion, it’s hard to believe this is the first book I’ve come across on the subject.

The Secret Side of Empty is such a quiet, somber book, but it packs a punch; one I wasn’t expecting to be so hard. Was it a little too quiet? Maybe. But it was thoughtful, eye-opening and it completely snuck up on me. It was worth the read.

Have you heard of The Secret Side of Empty before? What diverse books have you read lately? And tell me, how do you pull yourself out of slumps and get back to reading?! Stop back tomorrow to have your day brightened and for some more diversity goodness! I'm looking forward to chatting with your lovely faces again! 

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