My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really wanted to read this book because I know many people (including my own parents) who came to America as immigrants and really established their lives here. I can’t imagine what it would be like for any of them if one they were told they could no longer stay in the country they had adopted as home, because they were not considered legal.
This is what happens to Jasmine‘s family; Filipino immigrants, they’ve been living in America for the past ten years (this number is an estimate, since I can’t remember the exact amount of time) and have really made California their home. But when Jasmine – being the high achiever she is – earns the National Scholarship, which could lead to even bigger scholarships from the college of her choice, she is told that she cannot apply for them, because her parent’s work visas have expired, and the family is no longer legal residents.
For the first time, Jasmine has no idea what to do. She wants to find a way to help with her family’s situation, but with the way the laws of the land work, it’s beginning to look impossible.
Then let’s add in a possible romance for good measure.
Royce is the son of a well-known congressman, and is very interested in Jasmine. He does serve as a good distraction during her family’s current situation, but she can’t help but wonder what might happen between them if he was to learn that she is undocumented, especially because of his father’s politics.
So, with romance in the woodworks, an uncertain future pertaining to college, what else can Jasmine do, but to help her parents fight to find a way to keep her family home.
Having grown up with parents who were both originally immigrants to America (my mother is from Japan, and my step-father is originally from Mexico…I know, interesting combo, huh?), I could easily see the need for an immigrant to have legal status, and want for it to be more easily attainable. Then, as someone born in America, I also could see why the government would want to set measures in place – a system – to keep people from being here illegally. But that being said, I wish that the government would give immigrants the opportunity to be able to come to America and after some time, the chance to apply for a green card.
BUT…we are not here for politics, we are here for a book review.
I was really intrigued by Jasmine’s story. To work so hard in school so that she could graduate with honors and possibly have the opportunity to go the college of her choice? She was on the path to an extraordinary future, I can’t imagine what it’d be like to learn that there was a possibility you wouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of what you’d worked so hard to earn, and be sent back to a country you don’t even really know anymore…
I really respected Jasmine’s character and her growth as she developed further into the story. At times though, especially when thinking about Royce, she seemed almost childish and immature with her reactions. But I thought about it, and the way she was raised, she was told by her parents that back in the Philippines, young couples would always be chaperoned when out on dates, and that brides remained “pure” until after marriage. Sure, you could argue that she lives in America with a whole set of cultural differences (I’d like to make mention that Jasmine’s parents are also not a young couple in the Philippines today, so who knows if the same things they were taught are even practiced? They may be, but I – and her parents – couldn’t know for sure, not being there), but Jasmine has pretty much made it clear from the beginning that she thought very highly of her parent’s opinions and approval, therefore she never really allowed herself to get close to any boys, and likely her immaturity can be attributed to that.
Tangent aside, Jasmine’s immaturity was only a small irk for me, I just happen to like to go on tangents sometimes, sorry.
The romance itself was very cute and I really liked Royce because he really liked Jasmine. He was such a romantic and genuine person, and I feel like it’s becoming harder and harder to find a genuine love interest in YA reads anymore…one who isn’t only living for the “now”, but for the future as well.
I also really loved the family dynamic. Jasmine had it good in this department! Though her parents might be overbearing at times, they really loved her and her brothers. They sat down to meals together and honestly, how many families really do that anymore??
I just really enjoyed this book. I really liked Jasmine and Royce, and I loved the way this book flowed all the way to the end.
Enjoyed, liked, loved…could I be any more in love with this book??
(Kudos to those who got my Chandler reference.) 🙂
Obviously I recommend this one!!!