I am thrilled to be a part of the official Blog Tour for Marie Marquardt’s DREAM THINGS TRUE! I loved this book and am excited to share with you today not only my own review, but also an exclusive interview with the author herself.
So, sit back, relax, and get to know Marie Marquardt and her book, DREAM THINGS TRUE!
About the Book:
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town. 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.
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Miss Riki’s Review:
I feel like this is not only a really sweet book with an adorable romance, but also a really important book that delves into some pretty intense topics. On one hand I fell hook, line, and sinker for the Romeo and Juliet feel of this romance between a privileged Southern boy and an undocumented Mexican girl. Alma and Evan are really sweet together, and I loved seeing their relationship grow from one of caution to one of love and acceptance. When Alma finally tells Evan that she is undocumented, she fully expects him to go running for the hills, but instead he stands by her and even puts his own life and family on the line in order to protect her. I feel like the the third person limited writing really did a great job of getting into both characters heads in the alternating POV, and I found Evan to be a realistic teen boy and Alma a conflicted and honest teen girl. Together, they have a romance that is just really so sweet and tender.
On the other hand, this book tackles some very important and intense issues. There’s the obvious topics of immigration, bureaucracy, and racism, which are addressed with care and heartfelt emotion. I think this type of book that shows both sides of the story and how immigration affects families is really important, and this book did such a great job of showing the ultimate repercussions of rampant racism. I felt terrible for Alma and her family and really appreciated that the author didn’t brush this topic under the rug. The experiences of Alma’s undocumented family are front and center in this book, and it was a learning experience for me to see how they live in fear.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The romance is sweet, the cast of secondary characters are engaging, and I was touched by the experiences of the characters in the book. It’s an emotional and important read.
Interview with Marie Marquardt:
Describe yourself in five words.
I’m not afraid of change.
What do you listen to while you write? Or do you prefer silence?
When I am writing the first draft, I listen to music. I have a playlist, and each chapter or scene has a different song. That helps me to write the mood. When I’m revising, though, I need total silence.
What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve looked up in the name of research – or what do you think the government has flagged you for?
If the government has me flagged, it’s because I regularly visit with immigrants in detention centers. That’s sort of an unusual thing to do.
What is an unknown fact or fun trivia about DREAM THINGS TRUE?
The original manuscript was 140,000 words long! I could wallpaper my office with all of the scenes I took out. That would be painful, though – to have to look at all of those unedited pages.
What are you working on now?
A contemporary YA love story set in Atlanta featuring an eighteen-year-old protagonist who is dealing with the emotional aftermath of an assault. She meets a young man from El Salvador, who was just released from detention, after fleeing gang violence and making the journey through Mexico with his little brother. The two of them discover together that love (in many forms) has the power to heal. I’m thrilled that it will come out with St. Martin’s in the fall of 2016.
About the Author:
Marie Marquardt is a Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and the author of Living Illegal: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration. She is widely published on issues of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. South. Marquardt has also worked as an advocate among immigrants in Atlanta. She is a founder and co-chair of El Refugio, a hospitality house near the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. Dream Things True is Marie’s first young adult novel.