Arce, whose My (Underground) American Dream (2017) recounted for adults her story of hope and hard work in the face of obstacles, turns to a younger audience in an adaptation for young readers.
When Julissa was born in Taxco, Mexico, she was a miracle baby for her parents, many years younger than her older sisters. Her entrepreneurial and ambitious parents wanted the best life for their girls, so they sent them to the best private school in the area. In order to pay for tuition, Julissa’s parents were frequently absent as they pursued their business ventures. Eventually her parents stayed in the United States to work almost full-time, and their absence was most keenly felt. When Julissa started getting in trouble back in Taxco, her parents sent for her to come live with them in San Antonio, Texas, arriving on a tourist visa. Though technically not allowed, she started school without a social security number, but when her tourist visa expired she became undocumented and lived in fear of deportation and removal from her family. Julissa recalls facing racism and abuse but also making true lifelong friends along the way. In her first-person account, Julissa and her family are presented compassionately but with acknowledgement of their many flaws. Above all it is evident how highly valued hard work and education are to the Arce family, values that push Julissa toward success despite her circumstances.
An honest and heartfelt story of survival. (Memoir. 8-14)