ARC Review: Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt


Dream Things True
Series: None
Author: Marie Marquardt
Published September 1st 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin

Goodreads 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.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

Dream Things True was an enjoyable book to read, but was somewhat lacking. It is a modern day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, with Evan being a wealthy, privileged Southern boy, and Alma an undocumented Mexican girl, who has lived in America since she was two years old. As they fall in love, legislation that Evan's senator uncle has implemented threatens their relationship, and Alma is at risk of being deported when ICE arrive in sleepy Gilbert County. 

I really enjoyed the nuances of their different upbringings. To learn about the Mexican culture than Alma and her family still embrace was wonderful. The little dialogues in Spanish were a bit difficult, as I couldn't really understand more than a couple of phrases here and there (even though I have a Spanish GCSE, oops!). For the most part, they were sort of translated, so it didn't ruin the reading experience completely. I loved how Evan embraced the Spanish, and wished he spoke it better, to be closer to Alma and her family. Though it is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, Alma's family don't mind Evan, not like with the original. Rather, they, especially Alma, and her brother, Raul, become really close to Evan.

The secondary characters were fun to read about too. Whit was by far my favourite, and the revelation that was revealed about him helped to explain why he was that way. I don't excuse what he did, but at least he tried to make amends for his actions. I also loved Mrs King, and all she did to help Alma, even from before the book began. Alma was a straight-A student, who should've had the very best opportunities, for scholarships, college, etc., if not for her citizenship status. When everything kicked off with ICE, and Alma lost family members left, right, and centre, Mrs King did everything she could to get the best help for Alma, and to explore the options that were available to her.

Though the book seemed to lack a certain something, the little side plots that came full circle by the end of the story helped to build up the plot. One of these side plot was to do with Whit, alluded to above. The other had to do with a manifestation of the Virgin Mary: Our Lady of La Leche - Mary breastfeeding Jesus. The reason for why she is important to the family is revealed right at the very end, and when it is, it makes a lot of sense.

The thing that I think brought down the rating of this book was the ending. It just stopped. I know most YA contemporaries tend to leave the reading wanting more, but this was different. The very last page seemed, to me, like the middle of a scene. There was no real resolution, and I'm left feeling a little cheated, and unfulfilled with the story now. If there was even just one more chapter, that would have made it so much better.

Overall, the book was enjoyable, but not fantastic. I'd probably say it's sort of a 'meh' book: neither good, nor bad. The story was lovely to read, but the ending let it down. I think the book will appeal to some, but not to others. 

Dates Read:
August 19-20, 2015

3 Stars

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