Monday, March 10, 2014


ARC of The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu
Thanks to mí amiga Ruby, I had the chance to read an advance reader's copy of Maria E. Andreu's debut novel The Secret Side of Empty. All I knew before starting it was that the story revolved around an undocumented high school senior.

In many ways, M.T. is a typical teenage girl. She worries about school, is in love with a boy and enjoys spending time with her classmates. Yet, while her friends are applying to colleges and learning to drive, all M.T. can do is watch. Because of her parents' undocumented status and her having been brought into the U.S. as a small child, she has no Social Security Number, no birth certificate, none of the documentation needed to apply for a driver's license or for college. Because of her circumstances, she's forced to be a spectator. M.T.'s experience is not unique, except for the fact that she's able to hide her undocumented status because of her fair features.

"A little chunk of me will always be a stranger everywhere, different chunks of stranger in different situations."

As she nears graduation, M.T. finds herself in an increasingly desperate situation as her home life spins out of control. She's trapped at home and at school with little to look forward to in the only country she knows. With the threat of being deported to Argentina in her shadow, she becomes despondent and nearly gives up on life.

"For a split second I feel like I've forgotten my stuff, but then I realize I'm just an observer. Someone who can look but can't touch."

This novel is loosely based on the author's life and is one that will touch many readers for the simple fact that we may have watched friends, family members, or neighbors suffer in silence, or give up on their hopes and dreams altogether. I'm confident The Secret Side of Empty will soften the most hardened of hearts and give readers a glimpse into what it feels like to be the victim of circumstances.

Hop on over to GUB Life to read my friend Ruby's review!
Gracias Amiga and thank you Maria for the ARC.