Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt

Dream Things True 
Title: Dream Things True
Author: Marie Marquardt
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: eARC from the Publisher
Goodreads
Evan and Alma have spent fifteen years living in the same town, connected in a dozen different ways but also living worlds apart—until the day he jumps into her dad’s truck and slams on the brakes. The nephew of a senator, Evan seems to have it all—except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two, surrounded by a large – and sometimes smothering – Mexican family. They both want out of this town. His one-way ticket is soccer; hers is academic success. When they fall in love, they fall hard, trying to ignore their differences. Then Immigration and Customs Enforcement begins raids in their town, and Alma knows that she needs to share her secret. But how will she tell her country-club boyfriend that she and almost everyone she’s close to are undocumented immigrants? What follows is a page-turning debut that asks tough questions, reminding us that love is more powerful than fear.
I was thisclose to DNFing Dream Things True because the first two chapters bored and confused me, and well, I don't really like being bored when reading. The main reason I wanted to call it a day was because the constant shift between English and Spanish in dialogues confused me, but hey, I didn't want to give up that easily. It did get easier to read between the lines (even though I cannot for the life of me speak Spanish) as I read on, and boy, am I glad that I soldiered on. I thought that Dream Things True would be your typical feel-good romance but it's so much more than that. It's a love story, sure, but it explores other issues we experience in this world today, and all these, in turn, make for a unique, refreshing story.

To kick things off, the female MC, Alma, is an undocumented (I love how it was mentioned and thoroughly explained in the novel why illegal is not really the right word to use) immigrant, and the male MC, Evan, is the quintessential American boy next door - rich, an athlete, and from a conservative family, and you just know that they will not have an easy relationship. The attraction is immediate, however, and cannot be ignored -  almost as immediate as the backlash the two main characters suffer while attempting to have a relationship. I should also point out that most of Alma's friends and relatives are undocumented immigrants as well, and that Evan's uncle is the senator who is lobbying for deportation laws left and right... add all these to the confusion and complications of any budding relationship and you have a mess.

I initially thought that Alma would only reveal her status to Evan near the climax of the novel - that Alma keeping this important secret will be the backbone of the story - but I'm glad that this was not the case. They were early on in their relationship when Alma told the truth, and I love how Evan listened and asked questions to understand her background. He squashed all judgments, all his preconceived notions, and actually listened. Alma introduced Evan to her friends and family, and Evan was able to actually see them as people, and not just 'illegal immigrants' - the same people whom he has been taught so long ago to avoid and look down on. Their relationship was built on love, trust, and honesty, and it was such a treat to read a realistic, finely-crafted tale of first love.

Being with Alma also encouraged Evan to open his eyes and actually see what was going on in their little town. He saw how all these immigrants were treated as criminals even though they weren't doing anything wrong, and it was clearly showcased that they never get the benefit of the doubt. Evan and his friends simply get slaps on the wrists every time they do something remotely close to breaking the law, but that's not the case for Alma's friends and relatives. Evan starts questioning the system that he grew up in, and once he takes a long, hard look at what he used to look past, well, he didn't like what he saw. Because of Alma, Evan is more aware, and that makes all the difference.

While there were a lot of aspects that made Dream Things True a fantastic read, what I like the most about the book is Alma. I'm not going to lie - it took a while before I warmed up to her character, but once I did, I can't help but be amazed at how strong she is. There are numerous instances in the novel wherein she could've taken the easy way out - wherein she could've relied on other people to save her, but instead, she chose to save herself. She chose to do things her way; she did what she felt was right. Doing all that Alma did took a lot of guts, and I was so so so proud of her!

All in all, Dream Things True is an emotionally-charged read that will make you stop and think. The beginning might be a bit confusing, but read on. I'm pretty sure that you'll end up liking it more than you think you will (just like I did!)

Rating: 3.5 Stars


10 comments:

  1. Aw, I totally get the DNF-ing part because as soon as a book goes into a snoozefest territory, it's hard to continue. (Or at least not start skimming!) Sucks that this was at the very beginnig, but look at you powering through! Ah! I love those kinds of books that offer something extra and issue exploring is totally up my alley in a feel-good novel :) Is it wrong to say that I kinda ship it already? Hah! I'm glad they both managed to open their hearts and Alma was the catalyst to open Evan's eyes. I really want to seek this gem out now :) So happy you enjoyed it as a whole, Lyra!

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    1. I know - the beginning was really hard to get through but I'm glad that I powered through! And yes, books that explore all sorts of issues always make for a good read. (And Evan is such a good guy! I love him!)

      I hope that you get to read this soon and you enjoy it as much as I did, Siiri! :)

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  2. I've never heard of this one before, but it's definitely eye-catching with the topic of immigration. And I do like how Alma keeping the secret isn't "the backbone of the story" as you said, since often times with books like this, the secrets lead to the worst type of miscommunication. And with books where characters fall hard easily, it's rare to find books where the relationship is built on the more grounding principles like trust and honesty, so I'm glad to hear this does that well. I think I'm going to add this to my list of books, it's definitely worth a good look :)

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    1. I was pretty worried at first that there would be an unnecessary emphasis on Alma keeping everything a secret but thankfully I couldn't be more wrong! I feel like the book would have been pretty cliche if that was the case.

      I'm so happy to hear that you're going to add this to your TBR, Eri! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :)

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  3. It's always a bit worrying when a book is confusing at the start and you want to DNF. I'm glad it improved for you!

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  4. Oooh, I'm glad it turned out to be awesome despite the rocky beginning. :O I hate it when books just make you want to implode because the beginnings are awful. *sigh* STILL! It sounds like a worthwhile book, though I'm not 100% sure it's my style. XDXD Glad it worked out though!!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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    1. Right??? I'm always used to books having explosive beginnings so it was a struggle when I found the first few chapters lackluster... but yes, it did end up a worthwhile read! :)

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  5. I've not heard the best of things about this one either and have seen quite a few people who DNF'd. I'm glad to see how you were able to get past the initial confusion and push through and end up really enjoying the book. I think I'm going to try and get to this one after all.

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    1. That's good to hear, and I hope that you get to enjoy this book as much as I did, Jessica! :)

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