Monday, August 31, 2015

Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt

  • Release Date: September 1, 2015
  • Genre: Contemporary
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Evan Roland and Alma Garcia’s unexpected romance begins just weeks before the school year during a hot Georgia summer.  They already know they live in separate worlds with Evan coming from old Southern money and Alma’s family being undocumented Mexican immigrants. But what Evan doesn’t understand is that Alma is also an undocumented immigrant. Just as their relationship develops, their town is starting to raid workplaces and deporting undocumented immigrants-- a charge that is largely possible because of  Evan’s uncle, a Georgia senator.

I really liked this story, I felt so much sympathy for situation Alma and her family are put in. Marquardt has a lot of knowledge and is able to  builds a narrative around an issue that we hear a lot about but may not know the specifics about.  Like that most undocumented immigrants who get deported aren’t deported for crossing the border illegally or committing crimes; they are deported because they use fake identities to get licenses and to get work.

All that said the writing in this book didn’t work for me at all. Marquardt's storytelling felt very clunky. She moves past events so quickly and then goes back to tell you about how things turned out instead of showing them. Like early on in the book  Evan and Alma’s have their meet cute where Alma says she can’t got to Evan's party and then next scene is Alma walking into his party wearing a skimpy bikini. It’s not until after they have a conversation that we get caught up on what happened that she got to go the party.

This book opens up so many big side plots but they never get resolved in a meaningful way. The ending of this novel felt so abrupt and unfinished. I think she should have kept it more on Alma's story because that is when the book feels more focused.

I am interested to compare this book and Jason Reynolds book All American Boys. They both deal with what happens when a character becomes aware of their own privilege. In this book Evan is in the 1%, which felt like a shortcut to explaining how privilege can work in  America since privilege can also work for people who aren't rich.

Dream Things True is such a relevant story right now that can be both heartbreaking and hopeful. While the story structure left a lot to be desired, I would love to see what Marquardt does next.

*Galley received for review from

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