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Dream Things True: A Novel Hardcover – September 1, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—This teen romance centering on the drama of immigration focuses on two protagonists, Alma, a beautiful, undocumented young woman, and Evan, a privileged Southern young man, who fall in love despite class, race, and national divides. Alma struggles to manage her grades, friends at a new school, and the fear of deportation as she enters her junior year at Gilberton High School in north Georgia. After Evan helps Alma avoid a traffic accident in her father's truck, the two begin a relationship, which soon turns into an intense romance. Evan's background as the nephew of a senator with bigoted views on immigration and undocumented migrants complicates the plot as his feelings grow stronger for Alma. Ultimately, Alma's life as a undocumented teen encroaches on the teens' relationships and opportunities—forcing the two to struggle with the social and racial tensions that keep them apart. Marquardt provides a critical view of the stigmas and difficulties plaguing undocumented youth in U.S. schools without glossing over the legal realities of deportation and detainment. Readers will find the romantic aspects of Alma and Evan's relationship sweet and exciting, though there are times when Alma's body and beauty are exoticized by the male gaze (particularly the white male gaze) in tandem with stereotypes about Latina femininity. VERDICT A debut romance for libraries looking to diversify their offerings.—Marilisa Jiménez García, Hunter College, New York City

Review

“Marquardt knowledgably takes on the plight of undocumented families . . . readers seeking a star-crossed love story with a twist won't be disappointed” ―Publishers Weekly

“Marquardt has a lot to teach . . . but never does it feel didactic. Instead, Marquardt envelops you into the story of this one family and this one young couple trying to beat the odds.” ―Bustle

“Worthy examination of undocumented immigration in the American South through the lens of young love.” ―Kirkus

“Marquardt provides a critical view of the stigmas and difficulties plaguing undocumented youth in U.S. schools without glossing over the legal realities of deportation and detainment. Readers will find the romantic aspects of Alma and Evan's relationship sweet and exciting.” ―School Library Journal

“Marquardt has written a book with a hopeful, if not happy, ending, filled with stark details about life in the U.S. for undocumented families. Eye-opening and touching.” ―Booklist

"Dream Things True is a satisfying and rich debut novel about love and the importance of following dreams." -Américas Award Committee

“A true Romeo and Juliet romance with a wider moral sweep-tender, heart-wrenching and wise. Every character shines.” ―Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of What I Thought Was True

“DREAM THINGS TRUE by Marie Marquardt is a story that must be told and needs to be read. With sensitivity and care, Marquardt deftly illustrates the struggles and hopes of Alma, an undocumented teenager living in the United States. Alma's story reflects the lives of millions of young people trapped between countries and cultures, longing for a place to belong. An important story that's full of heart, it will forever change the way you view those who live their lives in the shadows.” ―Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About Alice

“A compelling read with complex, true-to-life characters, DREAM THINGS TRUE is a unique novel. Not only will it cause readers to empathize with characters in difficult situations, it will get them to consider the plight of people in the real world. Add in a love story you can root for.” ―Adi Alsaid, author of Let's Get Lost

“Marquardt's Dreams Things True vividly weaves to life the thrill of falling in love in the South while awakening readers to the struggles of US-Mexican immigration policies. In this touching coming-of-age story, full of hope and possibilities, Marquardt captures the bittersweet world of undocumented teens living in the US and the power of true love.” ―Malin Alegria, author of Border Town series

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (September 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250070457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250070456
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I believe this book should be required reading for students to understand the challenges faced by our friends and neighbors who may or may not have proper documentation to live in the country. The challenges Alma's family faces throughout the story shine a frightening light on the realities faced by undocumented immigrants. The love story between Evan and Alma is sweet and feels very real. The author successfully uses their relationship to tell a very serious story. This is a book that will change the reader.
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Format: Hardcover
Received and ARC, read it, and when it came out I bought a copy as a gift for my sister. I LOVED this book. It is so refreshing to see a true immigration-love story portrayed in a YA novel. Marquardt has a deep understanding of Latino culture, its community and the immigration process. She does a phenomenal job of putting a face to the plight of so many. But above all this is a love story. Two teens trying to find themselves, instead find each other. Alma is an undocumented Mexican immigrant living in the shadows, and Evan is a Southern white boy born into a family of privilege. As they fall for each other they struggle with an unfair "system" keeping them apart. This novel is well written and researched. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt is a thought-provoking young adult (YA) romance between an undocumented Mexican immigrant sixteen-year-old named Alma Garcia and a privileged all-American seventeen-year-old named Evan Roland. Alma's father works as Evan's family's landscaper and when the two meet, there's definitely mutual attraction going on. Alma's father is very strict, barely allowing her any sort of leisurely time, making it difficult for her and Evan to actually hang out and get to know each other better, but the two find ways and soon, the crushes evolve into the innocent and full-on blush type of love.

I liked both the main characters who, at their young ages, already have a fair amount of maturity while still acting like teenagers who often think first of themselves and the person they only have eyes for. They're opposites in a lot of ways but I appreciated that this wasn't a good-girl-falling-for-the-bad-boy kind of story. This was more of being different in both simple and deeper ways but also realizing that they have more in common than they first anticipated. They both have heavy issues family issues that they're dealing with and your heart breaks for them when they're forced to simply deal because there is no other option.

A lot of the story is about undocumented immigrants and how that status affects Alma and her family. It's a very real issue that quite a number of countries are facing and is a hot topic in the United States and isn't limited to just immigrants from Mexico. There are many sides to the issue and while you see how it affects Alma's family in particular here, the opposing side is also lightly touched upon. Of course, Evan's worries are composed of Alma's and his own.
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Format: Hardcover
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Dream Things True is a novel that is a lot of things, perhaps very subtle things that don't all reveal themselves to you right away. This book made me think long past the last page.

It is a love story in multiple ways - a romance between two smart young adults facing both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances, a story of a mother's love for her family that is placed above her own well being, a story of a father's cautious and protective love for his children that is doled out in rules and musts and have-to's, an extended family's love for one another and the sacrifices and changes they endure in support of each other.

Right away, you are rooting for Alma. She is both a smart and ambitious young woman and a confused and overwhelmed teenager. She is on the cusp of so many things in life. And she is experiencing the magic that is finding your first, true love.

And then you are rooting for Alma and Evan. Evan is the epitome of don't judge a book by his cover, both in how he handles a home life that is not what it seems and in his capacity to truly "see" Alma and love her with all his heart.

And then you are rooting for the whole Garcia family. Their struggles are real, these are people you don't realize you probably know in real life and their love for one another is powerful.

This book does a wonderful job of taking a Romeo and Juliet type story and weaving in important issues of our day.

I want to know more now that I've finished reading. What is the next chapter in their lives? I also want to know more in the real world - the issues facing undocumented immigrants - not just the politics behind this hot button issue but the human side. The people living every day in this reality.
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Format: Hardcover
There are so many people I know who need to read this book. Seriously, if you’ve never given a second thought to immigration laws or reform, if you’ve never really cared much about the thousands of undocumented workers in the U.S., THIS is the book for you.

Before reading this book, I had no idea how to articulate my opinions and views on the issue of immigration. I had opinions (don’t we all), but I couldn’t explain them as well as I wanted to be able to. Marie Marquardt does it beautifully, and all while writing a story that is both compelling and interesting in its own right.

What I like about Dream Things True is that it isn’t just political propaganda. It’s a story about love and loss and family, and it cuts straight to the heart of what really matters (at least in my opinion). It’s about seeing people as people, and not treating them as other or inferior or less than. I think more people could use that message.

Alma has dreams of leaving her small town behind and studying anthropology at a great university, and she’s got the brains to back it up. The only problem is precisely nine digits long. See, Alma doesn’t have a social security number. She’s undocumented, and that could cost her (and her family) everything. But the thing is - Alma has lived in the US since she was just two years old - it’s not like she came over from Mexico of her own volition or in her adult years. She’s been raised in the U.S. and her small Georgian town is the only home she’s ever really known. There are plenty of other cases like hers, and this book is rife with insights into the lives of the undocumented. Almost Alma’s entire family, for instance, works at a chicken killing factory, which is just as nightmarish as it seems.
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