June 19, 2018

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My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero with Erica Moroz | SLJ Review

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redstarGUERRERO, Diane with Erica Moroz. My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope. 256p. photos. Holt. Jul. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250134868.

Gr 6-8 –An adapted version of Guerrero’s Alex Award–winning In the Country We Love: My Family Divided for middle schoolers. Guerrero recounts with candor her early life as a child of undocumented immigrants living in a supportive community in Boston: the joys of rollerblading with friends coupled with the fearful reality of being stopped by the police or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). When Guerrero was just 14 years old, her parents were suddenly deported and she was left to rely on the care of family friends as no one from Child Protective Services or ICE ever checked on her. Money, corrupt lawyers, and language barriers were among the obstacles preventing her parents from obtaining citizenship. Guerrero thoughtfully touches on the resulting trauma of this event, including bouts of depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts; readers sensitive to such topics may have difficulty with these passages. Throughout the book, the tone is conversational and peppered with humor; however, Guerrero does not mince words when discussing racism, politics, and family tensions as well as the fear, shame, and emotional turmoil she experienced. VERDICT A moving coming-of-age memoir for middle schoolers. Pair with Reyna Grande’s The Distance Between Us.–Laura Dooley-Taylor, Lake Zurich Middle School North, Hawthorn Woods, IL

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2018 issue.

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