Something in Between is Melissa de la Cruz’s newest book. Those of you who are my age might remember the Blue Blood series, which is about vampires from 5 – 10 years ago.
Something in Between is not a fantasy series like the Blue Blood books were but it is still young adult. The main character is a girl named Jasmine; she is extremely smart and won a scholarship that would fund her university education and she is also the captain of the cheerleading team. But then her entire life is turned upside down when her parents tell her that they are not in the United States legally and they are at risk of being deported back to the Philippines.
The book is very true to is title name; Jasmine grows to learn how to bridge the cultural gap to be “something in between” her Filipino family and the American culture she lives in. She is determined to be allowed to stay legally in the US and fights to make it possible. Melissa de la Cruz talked about her own experiences briefly at the end of the book where Jasmines experiences have some similarities to her own.
I think it is amazing that authors are beginning to write books about being undocumented immigrants in the USA because I think these books are really lending themselves to helping citizens and documented immigrants understand the hardships that are faced and that it isn’t as simple as saying those are people criminals and calling it a day. One thing I couldn’t help but notice was how unreasonably difficult it seemed for Jasmine and her family to get to stay in the US; the judge thought her family should know politicians and other “important” people who could vouch for them. It’s sad to think that that’s a reality (or similar things would be an expectation) because many undocumented people are trying to fly under the radar and probably do not know politicians very well because they might be afraid that sticking their necks out around a politician could get them deported. In any case, it was just fortunate that in this story that Jasmine’s boyfriend’s dad was a congressman and was inevitably able to help her family and that Jasmine being incredibly smart would mean she could probably get a green card/ citizenship in the long run on an account of being a “gifted person/person of exceptional ability” (one of those two).
*** In the next paragraph: I have read about this stuff a number of times, I don’t know where the specific sources are because it was a few months ago that I read it, but I will do my best to explain it as accurately as I can and you can likely Google it for verification***
According to research, many undocumented people are working for people who take advantage of their legal status for menial jobs and pay them far less than would be allowed legally. Apparently, it has also been estimate that it would hurt the economy to deport all of the undocumented workers because it would mean that rather large labour force is gone and would need to be replaced but there would be a lag while that happened, so it’d actually be better to make it easier for people to stay legally and pay them a fair wage. There are so many barriers that people need to overcome for this to happen though, but just given what I know, I can see how this makes sense and hopefully something positive can be worked out.
Any ways, I really liked Something in Between. I thought it had a happy ending, and that at the moment, a lot of other undocumented immigrants aren’t so lucky, but Melissa de la Cruz did take the opportunity to talk about what happens to a lot of other undocumented immigrants in the book. I think it would be a really good book for a lot of young people to read (or people of any age) if they want to begin understanding this issue better. If you want to read another book, there is an autobiography In the Country We Love; My family divided by Diane Guerrero, who was born in the US but her parents and older brother were undocumented and deported when she was only 14, and she was left on her own. Guerrero is one of the actresses on Orange is the New Black and her story is so heartbreaking but also really informative.
Title: Something in Between
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publication date: October 4, 2016
Page count: 304
Genre: Young adult, Coming of age