Ander & Santi Were Here

Wednesday Bks. May 2023. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250843999.
Gr 10 Up–An emotional romance about claiming the life and love you want. Ander Martínez, a nonbinary 19-year-old living in San Antonio, TX, has taken a gap year between high school and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to create stunning murals celebrating their neighborhood. They plan to spend the year defining their artistic style while working at their family’s taqueria, but things change when they fall hard for new waiter Santiago López Alvarado. What Ander doesn’t know is that Santi is undocumented, and lives with the threat of ICE agents tearing him away from the life he’s built for himself in Texas. Ander and Santi’s budding relationship is a whirlwind of ecstatic highs and tragic lows that carries with it the intensity and fierceness of a new love. The novel skillfully captures the nuance of Ander’s struggle to define themself as an artist while facing the racist stereotypes of their future college adviser.
VERDICT A hopeful queer love story that is grounded by the complexities of the protagonists’ struggle to stay together. Recommended for purchase.

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