Something In Between by Melissa De La Cruz

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It feels like there’s no ground beneath me, like everything I’ve ever done has been a lie. Like I’m breaking apart, shattering. Who am I? Where do I belong?

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own.

The hype was all of Goodreads, Instagram and blogs. The main reason at I read this is because it’s the book of  the month of our Book Club and I was drawn by the cover. The illustrations, typography and even the color scheme is soothing and appealing for a YA contemporary. It looks like a light hearted read and when I read the synopsis, I was highly motivated to know that the main character and author is a Filipino. The concept of immigration is interesting to read knowing it’s from a perspective of a Filipino. Who wouldn’t be interested right? An A+ student who suddenly knew they have no green card for years. Her life, scholarship, and american dream will all be shattered in a blink due to the threat of deportation.

I know this book is a very important story to the author. I understand that it’s a personal life story during her teenage years which is badly written in a 400 + YA fiction.  There wasn’t anything that happened at all. Just cliche romance+ rants about living in America + cheerleading + degrading Philippines.

Reading the chapter 1 was OKAY but going through this excruciating 400 + pages was like going through hell. I cannot comprehend how people LOVED/ENJOYED reading a book wherein Filipinos are obviously degraded. I finished this hoping something turns out well in the end like a major plot twist? maybe? but I was wrong!

The characters especially Jasmine Delos Santos is not a likeable character. A cry baby, immature, annoying, and self centered who makes bad decisions knowing she’s from a prestigious school with an A+ grades. The plot was boring all throughout. I was expecting more from the characters but nah. There’s no character development at all. All I read are the stereotypical portrayal of Filipino’s tradition, custom, and values. The patriotism and nationalism that I was looking for were not there. Instead just rants about being American and living in America.

It’s just too sad that the author is implying as if the Filipinos migrate to America just to be a maid, janitor/janitress or other blue collar jobs. Maria, Royce’s maid Jasmine’s mom graduated in a private school in PH but come to live in America as janitress. The part where they’re nearly deported and her dad told her he’ll just apply as a jeepney driver in PH even though he graduated in a private school. See the difference how Filipinos are seen someone who’ll only work blue collar jobs. Jasmine and her siblings depicts the children who lived in America for years have adapted their set of standards. Living to the so-called American dream, Filipino traditions are lost including learning to speak the language itself. Filipinos who migrate tend to never go back to live in PH because they are blinded by the good life they have while living in another country. It’s like they’re saying Philippines doesn’t offer good education and job.

I thought the romance part will bring justice to the book but It just made things worst. Royce and Jazzy baby’s insta-love has no feels at all. They look like two annoying lovebirds who are so indecisive. They were happy at first then broke up the next day then suddenly make-up. Not to mention the insignificant reasons they argue most of the time.

Overall, the hype doesn’t deserve this book. For some, this might be the YA contemporary for them for me, it’s not. There are a lot of YA contemporaries out there that deserves attention. Too bad this is my first time reading a book from this author. I might not read another book from her again.

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