Little, Brown. May 2021. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780759556058.
Gr 9 Up–Mateo is a Mexican American teenager with dreams of stardom. He and his friend Adam want to be drama students at the prestigious Tisch School at NYU. He begins to doubt that dream when another actor at an audition makes a racist comment. Mateo has always had trouble sewing together all of the different parts of his identity. He’s never felt fully Mexican or fully American. Mateo is a brother, son, actor, part-time worker at his father’s bodega, and gay. He knows he loves watching telenovelas with his mother and hanging out with his best friends Kimmie, who is half Korean, and Adam, who is Italian American. Mateo’s carefully constructed path to acting school is disrupted when his mother and father are arrested by ICE agents. The protagonist has to figure out how to keep his father’s business afloat, manage new living conditions, and still maintain a positive disposition at school. He feels ill-equipped to deal with the adult responsibilities that have been placed on him. The foundation of his world begins to crumble as Mateo tries to figure out how to support his sister and his parents in a new uncertain landscape. This is a novel about the human face of the immigrant community and is an insightful look at U.S. immigration policy and the families it affects. The uncertainty and heartbreak faced by families separated by deportation is brilliantly displayed. The friendships are genuine and the characters multifaceted.
VERDICT This title is ideal for public and school libraries looking for a coming-of-age novel that explores the issues of immigration.

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