Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much -- except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There's too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she's an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one's family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives.
Sixteen-year-old Alma Garcia-Menendez is a brilliant girl from a loving Mexican family living in Georgia, part of a community of undocumented immigrants. Evan Roland is the privileged son of a socialite, the nephew of a powerful senator, and a friend to boys who think sexual assault is a game. It's love at first sight for Alma and Evan, but the threat of deportation looms for Alma and everyone in her life, thanks to the efforts of Evan's uncle. In this YA debut, immigration activist Marquardt knowledgably takes on the plight of undocumented families in the U.S., unspooling a biting critique of anti-immigration politics. As such, her storytelling can be didactic and her characters too neatly drawn as heroes or villains. Alma's role as the damsel in distress, with Evan as her rescuer, can get old, and a subplot related to sexual assault doesn't get the space it needs. But readers seeking a star-crossed love story with a twist won't be disappointed. Ages 13 up.