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.
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“12 Things About Marie Marquardt”
1. I like school. In fact, I like it so much that, after college, I stayed in school for ten more years. Unlike life, school is easy: You get an assignment, you do the assignment, you turn in the assignment, and then you’re done. Life after school gets a little more complicated.
2. It would be a huge lie to say, “I’ve always wanted to be a novelist.” I never even considered writing novels until I surprised myself by starting to wake up every morning way before dawn to write one.
3. Most of Dream Things True was written between 4 and 7 a.m. Needless to say, I am not a night person.
4. I’ve spent the better part of two decades researching, writing about, and doing service and advocacy work with undocumented immigrants from Latin America. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking. Sometimes it’s really fun, like when I get invited to a quinceañera.
5. I’ve written many articles and two non-fiction books about Latin American immigration (with co-authors, who are – by the way – very supportive of my foray into young adult romance!). I have discovered that, at least for me, writing fiction is much more pleasant. I’m not a big fan of footnotes.
6. I wrote DREAM THINGS TRUE because I think the stories of young undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are important. Many of these immigrants are working hard to get their stories heard. I want to help.
7. I also wrote DREAM THINGS TRUE because I am totally obsessed with love stories, especially first-love stories. I probably should have known something was off many years ago, when I took all of those breaks from writing my doctoral dissertation to sneak in episodes of The O.C. and My So Called Life (Thank God that was before the era of Netflix marathons. I never would have finished graduate school.).
8. When not watching teen romance, I read lots of contemporary young adult fiction. I prefer it over any other genre. There is so much extraordinary young adult fiction out there. (Yes, Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Downham, Jacqueline Woodson, Matt de la Peña, and Jandy Nelson, I am looking at you.)
9. I adore my husband. We’ve been married for twenty-one years. He shares a few things in common with Evan. For instance, both of them don’t like chocolate. (How is that even possible???)
10.We have four kids. Yes, four. They all agree that describing their mom as a “novelist” is way cooler than describing her as a “college professor”.
11.It took me three years to write DREAM THINGS TRUE, and another four years to get it published. If I hadn’t cared so much about this story, I would have quit. I am very glad I didn’t.
12.I think I may be a novelist! I am finishing my second YA contemporary now, slated for release in the fall of 2016, and then another will be close behind it. Even though I never wished for this life, it turns out to be the life I love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marie Marquardt is a Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University's Candler School of Theology and the author of Living Illegal: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration. She is widely published on issues of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. South. Marquardt has also worked as an advocate among immigrants in Atlanta. She is a founder and co-chair of El Refugio, a hospitality house near the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. Dream Things True is Marie's first young adult novel.
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