Monday, January 18, 2016

535 (2016 #1). Dream Things True

by Marie Marquardt,
narrated by Almarie Guerra

If only one COULD dream things true....

This is beautifully-written young adult contemporary realistic fiction.  The title comes from a line in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (Act 1, Scene 4).  Alma is an undocumented Mexican immigrant about to start her junior year at a smaller city high school in Georgia.  Evan is the nephew of the state's U.S. Senator, a country-club boy about to start his senior year and a star on the school's soccer team.  They meet and fall in love.  (And while sexual assault is another theme in the book, Alma's and Evan's relationship remains chaste.)  Complications ensue as Alma and her extended family are threatened by increasing enforcement of immigration laws.

I can't even begin to describe how much I liked this book.  The characters felt so real, especially Evan's troubled cousin Whit, the senator's son.  I cared about what was happening to all of them.  The romance felt honest, and the issues this book tackles are thought-provoking.  Definitely a book to recommend, to both young and older adults.

This is the debut for author Marie Marquardt.  She is a college professor who earned a doctorate in the sociology of religion while visiting the churches of Georgia’s Mexican immigrants (and such observations come to play in this book).  She is co-author of the nonfiction Living Illegal: the Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration, and co-founder of El Refugio, a hospitality house for families of immigrants held at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia - both of which appear in this book.

Audiobook narrator Almarie Guerra adds a lot to this book.  Her voice for Alma sounds just as I would imagine the "real" Alma would sound, and she is perfect with accents for other Latino and Southern characters as well.

No matter what side of the immigration issue you are on (and for what it's worth, living where I do, I am not particularly on the side of undocumented immigrants), this is a book worth reading and discussing.  I will be purchasing a print copy for my library's collection.

© Amanda Pape - 2016

[I received this audiobook through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  It will be added to my university library's collection.]

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