Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
When your country doesn’t want you there, how do you know where you belong?Jasmine de los Santos has been pushed by her immigrant parents to over-achieve and be the best she can be. She’s thrilled to be named a finalist for a big college scholarship. But when she brings home the paperwork, she learns that she and all her family are in the country illegally.As Jasmine’s world shatters around her, she rebels, trying to make sense of herself―who is she? Is she American? Illegal? Something in between? Jasmine decides to accept the award anyway and goes to D.C., where she meets Royce Blakely, the handsome son of a Republican congressman. As she fights for her very identity, will Jasmine find help in unexpected places, and will she ever figure out where she belongs?
If you follow me on Goodreads you’ve probably already seen my review of this book on there but I thought it smart to expand upon my thoughts on my blog because it sounds like I really didn’t like the book when I look back but I stayed up way too late to finish it so it’s not like I didn’t enjoy it, is it?
Let’s Look At The Good, It’s Political
This is a cute YA read which I actually really enjoyed. I liked the characters and the entire concept of it being a girl in the US who has always worked hard to succeed until the day she discovers she is not a legitimate US citizen but instead an illegal alien in the country she loves so much.
It sensibly approaches a delicate situation. Many countries have their own issues with immigration and no one can dispute that it seems wrong that people enter countries illegally and settle but at the same time, if there is enough work and they are willing to work it also seems wrong to stop them. When you’re looking at those who have entered a country years ago and are working and through bad luck lose the jobs they were sponsored to have it seems even worse to think they could be kicked out of the country they have spent so long living in. It’s all a bit of a mess really and this book accurately demonstrates that fact. It also demonstrates that too often politicians use immigration as a platform for a campaign but don’t actually care about the people and lives which they are impacting.
I think this book was written very intelligently, I read the acknowledgements from Melissa de la Cruz and you can see her intelligent writing stems from the fact this is something she cares about. She got caught in the legal black hole which is the American legal system and the hoops you have to jump through to live there. It’s really smart about it and demonstrates that people who, in the news, are portrayed as violent criminals coming into the country for nefarious means are in fact just hardworking people.
It May Make You Interested In Politics But It’s Still Flawed
The thing which frustrated me most about this book was the fact that this really intelligent book about immigration and the flawed system which is employed in America is overshadowed by a romance. I liked the romantic couple in this book. I liked Jas and Royce and their entire dynamic together. They were such a sweet couple and I really loved it when they worked together, but there was all the drama with their relationship. I felt like they ‘fell in love’ way too fast. I felt like they went from 0 to 60 way too fast and they had so many unnecessary misunderstanding creating conflict in a relationship which really didn’t need it.
Then there was the friend drama as well. Jas and Kayla’s friend drama seemed ridiculous and illogical. It made no sense, but I feel like Jas’s friendships in general made no sense. We got told these character were friends but I feel like the friendship wasn’t featured enough so I never really believed it. Her friends felt a bit flat and I am such a huge fan of strong friendships in books so it made no sense that Jas’s relationship seemed to be based on stronger friendship bonds than her actual friendships.
In The End Does It Really Matter?
In the end, this was a very enjoyable read. I liked the characters and the romance was sweet (if a bit over the top) and I enjoyed it. I just wish that the political aspect of immigration and illegally entering a country took centre stage in a book where the romance seemed to take over. It’s just one of those. I think it’s one for when you’re looking for a lazy day read, it could easily be read in a few hours and you may not feel as guilty taking a day over it when it does raise some important issues.
What was the last book you read which seemed to be taken over by the romance? Do you understand the American legal system and their immigration laws because it seems a bit crazy? Have you read this book and did you enjoy it?