**FIRST PLACE for the Best Political/Current Affairs Book, International Latino Book Awards 2017**
**One of Southern Living's Best Books of 2016**
**OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2017 Social Justice Book List published by The National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) • Boston Public Library Latino Life Booklist • Chicago Public Library Hispanic Heritage Month Booklist • Books for Welcoming Week by King County Library System (Washington State)**
A fast-paced nonfiction narrative that will help you understand today's immigration battles
18-year-old high school senior Isaias Ramos plays in a punk rock group called Los Psychosis and likes to sing along to songs by Björk and her old band, the Sugarcubes. He’s so bright that when his school’s quiz bowl goes on local TV, he acts as captain.
The counselors at school want him to apply to Harvard. But Isaias isn’t so sure. He's thinking about going to work painting houses with his parents, who crossed the Arizona desert illegally from Mexico.
Despite the obstacles and his own doubts, Isaias sets out on the journey to become the first in his family to go to college. He faces make-or-break standardized testing, immigration bureaucracy and absurdly high college costs. And most importantly, the siren song of doubt.
This simple story reflects broader truths. Mexican immigration has brought the proportion of Hispanics in the nation’s youth population to roughly one in four. Every day, children of immigrants make decisions about their lives that will shape our society and economy for generations.
In the tradition of Friday Night Lights and A Hope in the Unseen, this deeply human narrative offers a powerful antidote to the heated political rhetoric about immigrants and their children.
A product of over five years of investigative journalism, Connolly's narrative immerses readers in the world of Isaias Ramos, a high-achieving Memphis teen who's an undocumented immigrant, as he navigates the college admissions process. Connolly's in-depth reporting weaves Isaias's narrative through the lives of his friends and family as they struggle with the emotional and administrative complexities of unauthorized immigration and the laws that obstruct immigrant residents' access to higher education. In this delicate, comprehensive, and empathetic portrait, Connolly follows Isaias as he straddles the experiences of the American teenager a garage band, high school romance and the responsibilities of a young immigrant who's contributing to the economic wellbeing of his family. Connolly traces the origins of the U.S.'s current stance on immigration, examining policy such as the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 as well as the story of the Ramos family's journey from a small town in Hidalgo, Mexico, as they cross deserts equipped only with "a backpack with a few items for survival: water, Gatorade, and the sweets known as alegr as." Connolly unearths the human element behind one of today's most debated issues, asking expert and everyday readers alike to consider how the immigrant experience is affecting one of the fastest-growing youth populations in the nation.