Author: Marie Marquardt
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, 352 Pages (September 1st, 2015)
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Synopsis: 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.
Credit: From Dream Things True (St. Martin's Griffin) by Marie Marquardt
Evanledheronto the dock,whereadozenpeopleshedidn’tknowwere climbingintoskiboats.Shewatchedas allof thesestrangers,presumablystudentsathernewschool,casuallydistributedthemselvesinto boats.
Do teenagersownboats?Almawondered.Evanledherontohis boat, wheretwootherpeoplewerealreadyrummagingaroundunderthe seats forlifejackets.Anathletic-lookinggirlwith long brownhairthrew herone.
“I’mCaroline,”she said,“andthat’sLogan.”She motionedtowarda short,muscularguywitha shavedhead.HehadhisbacktoAlma,and wasuntyingropesfromtheboat.Hearinghisname,heturnedand grinned.
“Justignorehimwhenhe actslikean idiot,”Carolinesaid.“That’s whatIdo.”
Evangotbehindthewheelandstartedtheengine.Justas hewas backingout,anamazinglybeautifulgirlcamerunningdownthedock.
Thegirlreachedtheedgeof thedockand,withouthesitating,leapt gracefullyacrossthewaterand towardtheboat.She was wearingnothingbuta bright-redstringbikini.Hersandy-blondhairbouncedand shonelikeamodel’sinashampoocommercial.
Evanpulledher safelyontothe boat,andshe collapsedintothe passengerseat.
“Thisis Alma,”Evansaid,noddinginAlma’sdirection.“She’llbe startingat Gilbertonnextweek.Andthisis MaryCatherine,”hesaid, grabbingontothebeautifulgirl’sshoulderandsqueezinghard.“She’s myperpetuallylateneighbor.”
“Buthe lovesmeanyway!”MaryCatherineproclaimed.Thenshe smiled,revealingperfectteethtomatchherperfectbody.
Weretheyflirting?Almafelta tightnessinherchest, knowingthat shewasnocompetitionfor thisgirl.
Theenginerumbled,andthe boatlurchedforwardfromthe dock. Evangrasped Alma’sarm tosteadyherand thenpulledhertowardhim. “Readytolearnhowtodrive?”
Keepingonehandonthesteeringwheel,hewedgedherbodyin frontofhisandguidedherhandtothethrottle.“Doyouwanttogo faster?”
“Yes,”shesaid.Herbodywasoff balance,asifthefloorof theboat wereshiftingunderher.
Together,theirhandsguidedthethrottleforward.Shetriedlookingacrossthelake,in thedirectionthathewassteering,butall shenoticedwashis handon hers. Thefloorkeptshifting.Shewonderedifthis waswhatitfeltliketobedrunk.
She grasped thewheelhardtoavoidfallingback.The boatskittered overthewater,and thewindfusedEvan’sT-shirttoherpracticallybare skin.Alma triedhardto ignorethedullachespreadingat thepitof her stomach.
Aftera few minutes,Evantookthewheel.Carolineand Loganboth divedintothewaterandbegantoswimfast asEvantosseda skiropein theirdirection.
“Entertaining?”Almaasked. “Yeah,they’llbothshowoff.” “Arethey,uh,acouple?”
“Mostofthetime.Theyfightallthetimeand breakup everycouple ofmonths.”
“Logangetsboredeasily,”hesaid.“He’salwayslookingforarush.” LoganandCarolineboth poppedoutofthewater, crisscrossingeach
otherastheyleaptanddivedoverthewake. “So theyjustbreakupforfun?”
“Yeah,Ithinkitrunsinhisblood.Everybodysayshisdadwasthe same,backintheday.Hestoleboatsandstuff,justforthehellofit.” Heshruggedandcontinued,“Whichis weird,since he’sthesheriffnow.” Thesheriff.Evansaiditlikeitwasnothing,likehewasdescribing
the colorofLogan’sdad’scar,or his height—notlikehe knewthisman hadthepowertothrowpeopleinjailandkeepthemthere.
Carolinewasspinningin rapidcirclesas Logandidstrangecontortionswithhisarm.
Maybe,Almathought,theywereall so usedto beingaroundpowerfulpeoplethattheydidn’tevennoticeitanymore.Maybetheyneverhad.
Almawasn’tsurehowto makeconversationwithMaryCatherine. Sheseemedsounapproachable—thisgirlwhowore abikiniconfidently, likeshewashangingin comfysweats.Butwithinmoments,it became clearthat MaryCatherine—orM.C.,asEvancalledher—wasnotyour typicalSouthernbelle.
M.C.letoutadeep,bellowinghowl that soundedlikeitshouldcome fromabaldingwhiteguywithabeergut.Almawassosurprisedby M.C.’slaughthatsheforgottobeembarrassed.
Confusedand desperatetochange thesubject,Alma asked,“Sohow didyoutwomeet?”
“Meet?”M.C.asked.“We’vebeenneighborsforas longas eitherof uscanremember.Imean,weusedtoplaydoctortogether!Iwasthe doctor.IalwaysmadeEvanbethenurse.”
“SowhenyouandEvandohookup,”shesaid,“youcanthankme for hisgentle,nurturingtouch.”
Alma andMary CatherineturnedtolookatEvan,hisperfectlytoned armscasuallygrippingthesteeringwheel,hisbroadshouldersgleaminginthesun.
“Nothingthatconcernsyou,Ev, sweetheart,”MaryCatherinere- plied.“Youjustdrivetheboat.”
“Youheardhim,”shecalledout.“Youbettergeton up there,darlin’,becauseI’msureashellnotdriving.”
Almaclosedhereyes and stoodupslowly,herhead spinningandher legsquivering.
He tookher handandpulledher bodybacktowardthe wheel,and sherealized,finally,themeaningoftheword“swoon.”
***Note: this has been copy and pasted as is from the document sent from the publisher. Nothing has been changed and has been shared as is. So sorry for it being difficult to read.
“In this YA debut, immigration activist Marquardt knowledgably takes on the plight of undocumented families in the U.S. Readers seeking a star-crossed love story with a twist won’t be disappointed.” —Publishers Weekly
“Various aspects of undocumented immigration are explored: the economic factors influencing the decision to come to the United States, the often harrowing journey, the exploitation upon arrival, and the political factors that influence policy… [A] worthy examination of undocumented immigration in the American South through the lens of young love.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Marquardt provides a critical view of the stigmas and difficulties plaguing undocumented youth in U.S. schools without glossing over the legal realities of deportation and detainment.” —School Library Journal
“Marquardt's Dream Things True vividly weaves to life the thrill of falling in love in the South while awakening readers to the struggles of US-Mexican immigration policies. In this touching coming-of-age story, full of hope and possibilities, Marquardt captures the bittersweet world of undocumented teens living in the US and the power of true love.”
—MalinAlegria, author of Estrella’sQuinceañeraand the Border Town series
“Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt is a story that must be told and needs to be read. With sensitivity and care, Marquardt deftly illustrates the struggles and hopes of Alma, an undocumented teenager living in the United States. Alma's story reflects the lives of millions of young people trapped between countries and cultures, longing for a place to belong. An important story that's full of heart, it will forever change the way you view those who live their lives in the shadows.”—Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About Alice
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.
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