A chronicle of true stories of nine undocumented young adults who came to the U.S. in search of a better tomorrow, leaving behind violence, political unrest, and poverty.
Basing her account on lengthy—often quoted—interviews, Kuklin (Beyond Magenta, 2014, etc.) does a brilliant job of transmitting the often upsetting, but always hopeful, stories of nine protagonists from Colombia, Mexico, Ghana, Independent Samoa, and South Korea who are living under the constant threat of deportation to their countries of birth, places many of them know nothing about. Readers cannot help but feel empathy for the individuals as they learn personal details of their lives. The young people are only identified by their initials with blank frames printed in lieu of the originally planned photographs, an editorial decision made after the Trump administration moved to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Kuklin walked two tightropes in writing this book, doing so with competence and skill. Her first tour de force was to succeed in writing about people, not politics, even though the latter plays a consequential, even a central, role in the lives of those she writes about, in the form of immigration policies. Kuklin’s mastery is also manifest in her ability to engender empathy and compassion without writing a tear-jerker; the painful experiences, often narrated in a raw and unembellished manner, while inspiring, are more conducive to a productive conversation on the complicated issues of immigration.
A must-read. (timeline, endnotes, author’s note, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)