Friday, March 14, 2014

Blog Tour: The Secret Side of Empty

 Book Info:
Title: The Secret Side of Empty
336 pages
Published by Running Press Kids
Release Date: March 11th 2014
Add to Goodreads
Get Your Copy: Amazon, B&N

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.

My Review:
Wow! When I got asked to review The Secret Side of Empty I honestly wasn’t expecting this heart -wrenching story, but that’s exactly what I got.

M.T. and her family are illegal immigrants. It’s her senior year of high school and everything is changing. Everyone she knows seems to be moving on with their lives. They have their licenses, they’re getting into colleges, and they can get jobs and have a future while M.T. is stuck after high school. Living with her mother, brother, and abusive father M.T. doesn’t know how much more she can take. With the constant looming threat of deportation and never having enough money M.T. life is coming up empty.

M.T.’s character and I had a somewhat love hate relationship. M.T. at the beginning and at the end of the story was really great. She’s smart, snarky, even though her life sucked she was doing really well in school and while a Negative Nancy a lot of the time she was likeable. Then there were times when she just turned into someone that while I understood I didn’t really like all that much. It made me mad the things she started doing and how she would get mad at her boyfriend for not understanding things she never talked about. I got where she was coming from, but at the same time it was sad to me how she had so little but threw away the little she did have.

I really enjoyed this book. Honestly the emotions I am feeling just thinking about the book make me feel overwhelmed. While I’m not an illegal immigrant or anything like that Maria Andreu made M.T. and her situation so relatable. The ups and downs, the awkwardness, the constant fear, just everything was truly enjoyable so thumbs up to Ms. Andreu for that. She’s honestly got some mad skills in being able to project all that in a somewhat unrelatable subject for some people.

The Secret Side of Empty was a breeze to read. Even when M.T. was going through a part in her life that made me want to tear my hair out everything just flowed. I loved each and every one of the characters and how each of them grew in their own way. I love character growth and while M.T. was the main character I truly felt inspired by her mother. Her mother’s story was fantastic and while she was constantly pushed down she came back stronger and stronger. I felt sad that M.T. never seemed to fully appreciate her, but that’s neither here nor there.

I don’t want to give anything away so I will just say I loved this book. I could barely put it down for a minute and if you decide to read this book you’re in for a surprise.

I know my money is going towards rent or some other household expense. I’ll never see it again. But I make two vows. One, I’m going to steal my money back out of his pocket from his tip money on dollar at a time if I have to.

Finally, he leans in. His bottom lip is bigger than his top, so it grazes me first. He just holds it there, but then slowly he begins to plant kisses on my lips, then, finally, a little more.

Maria E. Andreu is the author of The Secret Side of Empty, a young adult novel due out Spring, 2014 (Running Press). It is the story of M.T., a regular American high school senior who is just like everybody else with one important exception: she is undocumented. She was brought over as a baby and her parents overstayed their visitors' visa. Now, with graduation looming, and no social security number for a college education, a job, a driver's license and everything else her friends are planning on, she's got to make some tough choices that will impact the lives of everyone she loves.
Check Maria out at these sites:
Website/ Goodreads/ Twitter/ Facebook

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