15-year-old Liliana Cruz has a lot to deal with. From taking care of two chaotic younger brothers to dealing with an increasingly absent best friend to providing emotional support for her mother who, incidentally, won’t tell her where her missing father is, it seems like she’s just barely holding her life together. But one thing is for sure — Liliana is at home in her diverse inner-city high school, even if it’s underfunded and disorganized. Yet when she unknowingly lands a spot in the prestigious METCO program, a desegregation program meant to give non-white students more educational opportunities, she is forced to attend an upscale, predominantly white school in the suburbs. There, Liliana quickly realizes that she is no longer in the majority and won’t truly fit in until she adopts the white mannerisms and habits of the students around her. However, when the startling truth about her parents’ undocumented status comes out, Liliana is forced to reckon with her cultural identity and answer the age-old question of who she really is.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, even though there were some flaws. I thought that the themes and topics explored in this book were really important, and I loved that the characters were unabashedly strong and inspirational. Admittedly, the beginning of the story didn’t resonate with me because of the uneven pacing and the odd writing style that the author employed in an effort to emulate the speech of a teenager, but as the story progressed, I found myself utterly lost in the rhythm of the plot. In general, I thought this was a great book and I would definitely recommend it!