MY REVIEW:

3 of 5 stars

I had some very mixed emotions about this book. Parts of me absolutely loved it, and parts of me felt like it was too juvenile for the subject at hand. In ways that’s okay because it is YA, but in other ways I feel like with touching a topic of such importance maybe it could have done without certain aspects that made it so juvenile. I’m usually a fan of adding a little bit of romance in as a back story, or to sprinkle some spice to the overall content. Even insta-love is more often than not fine with me, but in this case, I felt like it didn’t fit.

Jasmine is coming of age, so she’s experiencing life at a time of personal change as it is. All teens/YA come to a point where they have to pave their own way, in one aspect or another. Jas, is forced to find her way amidst much more serious circumstance than the average American. I love the angle this story brings to the immigration process. It gives a view from the prospective of a second generation immigrant that couldn’t be any more American, or any more deserving to be an American yet she isn’t… Not legally on paper! Living in America is all that her and her brothers know, yet their parents have failed to tell them that they don’t actually have real papers.

The news of her illegal status comes as gut wrenching shock to Jas. She’s worked hard her entire young life and has accomplished more than the majority of teens… Like period! She’s in several extracurricular activities, the captain of cheer, she’s conducting medical studies, and she’s landed herself a very rare and very prestige scholarship. When her parents tell her the reason she can’t accept such a high honor – that she’s worked so hard for – her entire life is turned upside down.

I feel like this is a subject that needed the light this book brought and am SO GLAD it’s a best seller! I think the emotional family angle of love, dedication, struggle, and the persecute of a very well deserved citizenship is needed in today’s society! It’s a big deal, and Melissa gave such struggle the kind of voice it deserves.

Jas ends up handling the situation, and I love the way she is with her family and friends. That’s despite the fact I struggled with her parents almost as much as her out of place insta-love with Royce. I’m not real familiar with the Filipino culture, but they are WAY to strict and for having such a close relationship with Jasmine and the brothers, they sure did have a lot to hide from them! As parent’s they wanted to give their kids a better life, an American life. The simple fact that they were drilling so many morals, hard work and integrity into their kids heads all the while LYING to them their entire lives really rubbed me the wrong way.

Ultimately I couldn’t bring myself to rate it any higher than a three, just because I was so off put by Royce and their childish relationship. YET it’s still a book I’d hands down recommend it to any and everyone with a crappy entitled outlook on immigration (with warning to the cheesiness of her and Royce’s relationship).

DESCRIPTION:

Be the first to read the thought-provoking new novel from Melissa de la Cruz, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Isle of the Lost and Return to the Isle of the Lost.

She had her whole life planned.

She knew who she was and where she was going.

Until the truth changed everything.

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. She’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship to the school of her dreams.

And then everything shatters. Her parents are forced to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

As she’s trying to make sense of who she is in this new reality, her world is turned upside down again by Royce Blakely. He’s funny, caring and spontaneous—basically everything she’s been looking for at the worst possible time—and now he’s something else she may lose.

Jasmine will stop at nothing to protect her relationships, family and future, all while figuring out what it means to be an immigrant in today’s society.

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