There were things I loved and things I didn’t. Overall I’m giving this book 75%.
I listened to this book rather than reading it, and I think that had an impact on the way I felt about it. Most of what I’ve heard is that the story was a super quick read and that people blew through it, but for me it dragged on a bit. It felt like we kept getting sidetracked and didn’t really get to see the relationship between Jasmine and Royce develop (enter InstaLove). And while legal processes are long and drawn out, I wanted to be more engaged.
I think this story is very important, considering the current political climate. Something In Between discussed immigration and the laws surrounding the issue in a personal and diplomatic way. I feel as though I came away from the book with a better understanding of those who have immigrated to the States and those facing deportation. I applaud Melissa De La Cruz for putting out a book that is not only so relevant, but also so close to her own story.
One of the elements that detracted from my reading the most was the large cast of characters. Jasmine and her family, Royce and his family, the other National Scholars, the cheerleaders, the councillor, and the coach, Millie and Lola Cherry, Julian, Lo, and Dylan, plus the various people on their legal team. I was overwhelmed with too many people and relationships to remember. While it built a good community to rally around the De Los Santos family, I felt like a lot of them were only there for that purpose. The huge cast also meant there were quite a few side stories to follow, pulling me away from Royce and Jasmine. That made it easy for them to fall into the classic contemporary “instalove.” We checked in on them every once in a while, but missed a lot of the build up to the major moments.
That being said, I thought Jasmine was a fantastic lead. She is strong, emphatic, and intelligent. You could feel her passion for her studies and her county as she fought for her family. I have no doubts that she went on to be an advocate for those struggling after immigrating, and this kind of character is exactly what we need right now.
All in all, this book covers a topic that is pretty controversial in a way that is easy to connect with. Though the execution wasn’t perfect, Something In Between makes you consider what it really means to be American.