Review: Something in Between

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I was looking forward to Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz. Not only is it a diverse book but #ownvoices too. But I was left disappointed. The book centres on Jasmine, a high achieving student who finds out that she’s an illegal immigrant and soon struggles with her identity and place in the country.

Things I like:

  • YA contemporary with PoC protagonist and biracial love interest – Royce (though I’m starting to see a pattern with white or biracial love interests who become something like white saviours in YA contemporaries with protags of migrant backgrounds)
  • Jasmine is a top student but also a cheerleader?!! 🙂
  • Jasmine’s family is everything. I love the strong bond between them
  • A sweet romance (to an extent)

Things I didn’t like:

  • The book makes light on racism and illegal immigration. I expected the opposite.
  • Everything is so happy and convenient. Jasmine is privileged and has connections to people in power. It lowers the stakes and the reality of illegal immigration
  • Royce’s dad is a politician who’s against illegals but changes his mind because of Jasmine?
  • Royce’s brother is racist because he has daddy issues?
  • Jasmine’s perception on Royce’s family as racists is just all in her head. Why is this book making excuses for racists?
  • The book makes people who gained citizenship via marriage look bad and seen as “the only way” to stop deportation
  • Jasmine’s characterisation is inconstant
  • The book focuses way too much on romance rather than the actual plot which Jasmine and her family being illegals and fighting to stay in the country
  • The romance felt forced and…uncomfortable. Jasmine and Royce are co-dependent with each other
  • Jasmine feeling more love towards the US than her native Philippines. Okay, I get it. As a first-generation Australian, I struggle with this but I don’t shit on my parents’ country of origin.
  • Jasmine saying that she has no memories of living in the Philippines…but she lived there until she was 9. What?

I didn’t expect Something in Between to be a full on YA contemporary romance – 90% instalove and 10% seriousness. The whole illegal immigration thing and Jasmine’s identity struggle wasn’t as invested as the blurb suggested.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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One thought on “Review: Something in Between

  1. Jupiter Brown says:

    Hmmm, we just got this book in at our school library–I was really excited to read it! I’ll still read it, but thanks for your review, because some of the things you pointed out sound really problematic. I’ll definitely be reading it from a much more critical viewpoint than I’d thought :).

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