REVIEWS+

Sanctuary Somewhere

200p. Enslow. Apr. 2019. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781538382844; pap. $12.90. ISBN 9781538382837.
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Gr 6 Up—Osmel has just begun his senior year of high school and is making college plans when he learns that he is undocumented. Through a verse narrative, readers follow Osmel's journey through discovery, grief, and acceptance. He begins to question if he will be able to achieve his dream of becoming a meteorologist, and he harbors resentment toward his sister, who was born in the United States. By way of comparison, teens see Osmel's Tía Alex, an outspoken law student registered under the DREAM Act, and his friend Juan, whose father is taken by ICE. Dimmig writes respectfully about a current topic, but the poetry in this verse novel does not hold up. The content is not too mature for preteens but is current enough to serve as a hi-lo book for an older teen. The line breaks seem random at times: "I watch Leslie/as she unfolds a blue/blanket and places it/over the small table/set for our family altar." There is not much use of the wordplay or literary devices that differentiate poetry from prose.
VERDICT Although this is a timely subject and there is nothing objectionable in the book, other options may be a better choice. An additional purchase.

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