Sometimes it’s hard, as we watch the evening news, to imagine the people behind the headlines. We live in an era of such media overload that we often forget to stop and think. So when a story comes along that personifies such a hotbed topic of debate such as illegal immigrants, it’s a must-read for me.
Jasmine was just a young girl when her family came to America. She’s worked hard all her life to be the very best at everything she does. Cheerleading, academics, she’s put her heart and soul into it all. And when she receives a national scholar award, that’s just icing on the cake. All her hard work is paying off. Until she finds out that her family is in the U.S. illegally. All these years she thought they had work visas, but it turns out they expired long ago. Now, not only is she in danger of not being able to go to college, there’s a very real chance that her family could be deported. Sure she feels like an American, but other people see it differently.
What’s the right answer on this controversial topic? It’s different for each person, and my answer may not be yours. But regardless, it’s hard to not feel for Jasmine and her family. This is an important book coming at a very important time!
I have to think about this book a bit….but off the top of my head I really didn’t like it. It seemed to me that the characters started off perhaps being ignorant, but they weren’t racist….by the end of the novel it seemed that all sides had turned so racist. There was little hope for anyone….not from page one and certainly not on the last page either….I kept waiting for someone…ANYONE to do the right thing….but it never happened. Yes, one can say that bit at the end….but I disagree….I think it was reflex and something that happened without thinking….it seemed that anytime a character took the time to think about their circumstances that it never ended positive. Only America seemed to think things out and look for the positive….but life certainly wore that poor lady down, didn’t? If Candido had time to think at the end, I believe he would not have reacted as he did…that’s right….I think he simply reacted to the situation…
Now having said all of that, where does it leave us? It seems to me that the nature of how the media portray these things really is part of the problem. Sure…just about every one can agree that children are born colour blind. They don’t see other races, they only see other humans….but think about how the media has portrayed immigrants in the last ten years. Is there any positive reported? How long does someone listen to negative reports day in and day out about abuse before they see only that? How long before someone that is judged day in and day out actually become what others automatically judge them to be? It was obvious that many of the characters in this novel didn’t start out as they did….others influenced their actions and ultimately changed their minds about how they perceived someone simply by the colour of their skin….
How long before you and I stop taking every thing we are told by the media at face value and actually step outside and talk to our neighbors? How long before we cross the street, not to avoid someone, but to actually help that person of a different colour? Just as others can change our perception of someone wrongly….we also have the power to change, not only our own, but also someone else’s perception….
Don’t let the negative be the guiding force in your life….
Well, I thought this was going to be an ordinary light romance, but it was EXTRAORDINARY! Ana is an undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic, but only because her visa ran out when she was a child and her mother passed away. Ethan is a well-loved local doctor (and widower) who needs a Spanish tutor for his teenage son. You can connect the dots that form the romance.
But Serena Bell gives the reader even more of a story… the story of Ana’s family, their efforts, their fears, their love for one another. I cried my eyes out at Ana’s plight: trying to achieve and succeed while flying under the radar in a country that didn’t know she existed. Ana’s brother and sister were her whole world, and they sometimes had to give up personal wants and values for the good of the whole family.
The other moms in the community were surprising but necessary characters. They tried to befriend Ana, help her, and make her feel better. But no rich white woman had been in her shoes. They didn’t feel the fear of getting caught that Ana lived with daily. They were awkward and ignorant, even if they meant well.
I absolutely enjoyed the love story in Yours to Keep. Ana and Ethan overcame personal challenges and came to a meeting of the hearts and minds. What really pulled at my heart strings though was Ana’s illegal immigrant status and her determination to succeed despite it. The adorable-but-typical teenager was a heart-tugger, too. And watching his talented dad (He cooks! He cleans! He saves lives!) fall in love was very romantic.