Indivisible by Daniel Aleman
Why I love this book: So I'm not sure where to start. This is a phenomenal book. I was so excited to get it when it came out last week and it didn't disappoint. Hopefully I can put into words sufficiently why this book is a must buy.... Sometimes a book is an important one. It covers the serious topics, it can be considered an issues book, you are meant to really learn something about yourself or the world when you read it. Sometimes a book is just meant to be enjoyed. The story and the characters weasel their way into your heart and you find yourself oversly invested in the lives of the characters on the page. And sometimes a book is both. Indivisible is both. Aleman tells us a story about a family, a family that could live in your building, or play on your kids soccer team, or sit next to you on the bus each day- these are people we know, and people we already care about, because our community would be less without them in it. And around this family, Aleman shows us the things that society often likes to avoid, those things that we'd like to believe happen to other people, not us, and not in our community. This is a book about people first, and through the people we learn about the issues.
At its heart is Mateo, a kid who wants what many high schoolers want. A pretty chill life, great friends, maybe some romance and a chance to do great things. He's so close to having all that when the rug gets pulled out from underneath him and his parents face deportation. Suddenly he has to deal with all the normal teenage things AND support his younger sister Sophie, keep the family business going, provide hope for his parents, and figure out what steps should be taken next. This happens to kids all the time. As a teacher I've seen it happen first hand too many times. Suddenly social time and school work takes a back seat to real life issues, and no matter how hard you try to keep up appearances, it eats away at you. This is what Aleman really nails- he captures all the small details of what carrying this load looks like. He doesn't sugar coat it, or gloss over, instead he lets Mateo and Sophie feel all the emotions and turmoil that comes with a deportation hearing. He lets them lash out and make bad decisions. He lets them work through their sadness and anger in ways that we don't often get to witness in the real world. Aleman lets Mateo and Sophie live their lives while facing massive odds, and through them the reader gets a glimpse of what it might be like.
It's all that AND the characters are amazing. No one is one note, including the adults in the story. Everyone has somewhere to go with their storyline and they weave in and out of eachother perfectly. No one is perfect, but everyone is authentic, which only add to the overall appeal of the book. As a librarian, I would 100% recommend that this book be added to any collection. In fact I added it to our eBook collection immediately and am already nudging kids in it's direction. It's a great book that I thing a lot of people will connect with, and those are the books I want everyone to get their hands on.
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