Monday, May 26, 2014

The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu

The Secret Side of Empty

By Maria E. Andreu

Blurb: 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.

Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

Publication Date: March 11, 2014

Series: N/A

Pages: 336

My Rating: 4.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
So, short little story to kickstart this review. I have been going through a pretty bad reading slump lately. Every book I pick up seems to be mediocre, or just plain bad. And it kind of made me not want to read. Like ever. So, when I picked up this book, I was a bit nervous, because I had been really excited to read it, but what if it was another letdown?

It wasn't.

In fact, it was probably one of the best books I have read since I finished the Harry Potter series around a month ago. That's how good this book was.

This book deals with illegal immigration. You want to know how many books I have read that actually deal with that topic? One, besides The Secret Side of Empty. That kind of surprises me. You would think that illegal immigration would be a bit more represented in literature, especially today when it's such a hot topic. But it hasn't been, and that worked in this book's favor. The story made me look at illegal immigration in a whole new way; I had never given a ton of thought to it, but M.T.'s experiences really opened my eyes. It made the issue more "real" for me. Ironic, that a fictional book can do that, but it did.

M.T. was one of those characters that I just loved and loved and loved. No, we don't share a lot of the same life experiences, (except for the fact that she's kind of a nerd and I am too, haha) but there were still things--little things, but they were still there-- that I could relate to her on. I always love when an author can create someone with a completely different life experience than me and yet I can still, on some level, connect with the character. That's what happened with M.T.

The story, while it was primarily about life as an undocumented immigrant, also branched out into other problems that many teens face. This book was so realistic; I just loved it. It could make me really sad one moment and really happy the next. It made me giggle, and sometimes I teared up.

I would like to end this review saying that I agree with M.T.; the bad guys are usually more interesting characters than the good ones. Especially in the early Disney Princess movies.

Guys, what are you reading for? Stop reading my review and start reading the book!


  1. Oh man I *so* wanna read this book. Which was the other book you mentioned about illegal immigrants? I totally love social drama and i'm kind of getting bored of the constant dystopian and fantasy fiction.

    1. It was a pretty obscure indie I found for free one day. Crossing Over by S.E. Campbell, I think. It was a decent book, though it was for a younger audience than this one.


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