I really did want to give this book five stars. I really really did, because I read it in a matter of hours. Something in Between has been one of 2016’s most anticipated releases and as soon as it came out, I went down to my local Waterstones and bought it. I couldn’t wait a day longer.
I feel like the biggest reason why this book was so highly anticipated was due to the whole plotline of the book being about immigration. This is such an important topic and it was so good to see an author taking such a big topic in today’s society and turn it into a YA novel.
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 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 Washington D.C., where she meets Royce Blakely, the handsome son of a Republican congressmen. As she fights for her very identity, Jasmine finds help in unexpected places and struggled to figure out where she belongs.
The idea of Jasmine being the ‘perfect daughter’ has put a lot of readers off this book. She studies hard, rarely goes out that she can help her parents around the house and look after her younger brothers and on top of all of this, she can still manage to be the head of her cheerleading squad. For me, this only enhanced the story.
Her parents went to America when Jasmine and her younger brothers were just children and always told them that now they were in America, they had to work twice as hard as ‘normal Americans’ because the de los Santos family had been given an opportunity, and they weren’t going to waste it. I think this is a brilliant lesson for the parents to teach their children.
“‘Do you ever sense a little silver sliver of sadness around your happiest memories?’‘I’m not sure what you mean…’‘I do. There’s something about remembering that just isn’t the same as the real thing. No matter how happy it makes you feel. When you remember something, you have to recognise that the moment will never happen again.'”– Melissa De La Cruz, Something in Between
Naturally, being the older sibling, Jasmine feels pressure to extra good so that she can be a good role model to her brothers and show them that if you work hard, you get things in return. For the parents to know that they were in America illegally and to still push the children academically isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion. They wanted what was best for their children, they thought their work visas wouldn’t expire. It’s natural for parents to hide things from their children to protect them, it’s natural for parents to want their children to achieve. I see nothing wrong in the way the parents acted. They were protective, embraced their Filipino culture and wanted the best for Jasmine and her brothers. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.
The story properly kicked off when the parents told Jasmine that they were in America illegally; that their work visas ran out and they hadn’t found a way round it yet. From then on, Jasmine is on a quest to help her family get out of the mess that they’re in and on the way, meets Royce.
Royce and Jasmine’s relationship was a bit ‘meh’. They were cute together and I love how they helped each other through anything but there was a huge lack of communication between them and I mean HUGE. When they got into a little, tiny argument, they broke up with each other. It was quite pathetic to read since, in the next chapter, they would get back together again. Maybe, if they actually listened to each other and didn’t jump to conclusions all of the time, they wouldn’t be breaking up every two weeks.
However, apart from the so-and-so relationship, this book was beautifully written and it was so eye-opening and inspiring. It’s a perfect YA novel to read in these hard, political times where immigrants feel like they don’t belong anywhere and are receiving a massive amount of hate in the media and in society. There is no need for hate. There is no need for violence. Immigrants are people – just like you and me. They are humans. They are alive. Treat them with respect. Something in Between is such an important novel to read and I hope that it changes people’s perspectives on immigration and that it shows that they are equal to each and every one of us.