Summary (from Goodreads):
“A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.
Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much — except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There’s too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she’s an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives.”
I had really high hopes for this book. I don’t know very much about illegal immigration (or, as they prefer to be called, undocumented) and I had hoped that, at the very least, this book would be able to fill in some gaps there.
I also really loved the idea that Alma would fall for someone from a powerful family that is on the opposite side of that issue. I know Romeo & Juliet is a cliche, but it works. (At least for me.)
This book didn’t meet those expectations, but it was incredibly interesting anyway. I wish their relationship had felt a little less insta-love, but I also remember being a teenager and having these huge, powerful emotions pop up almost instantly. Like, “We made eye contact; WE ARE GOING TO GET MARRIED.” (Okay, not THAT bad, but still.)
I think possibly my favorite part of this book is that both characters were a little bit obnoxious. I feel like in most YA, the characters are fairly perfect. They may make bad decisions or be a little bit snarky, but by and large, these are great kids who do good things. Alma is definitely more perfect than Evan is, but they both are obnoxious people.
I think maybe if this book hadn’t been a love story, I would’ve loved it way more. (Does everything have to have a romance?)