Author: Daniel Aleman
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Summary: A timely, moving debut novel about a teen’s efforts to keep his family together as his parents face deportation.
Mateo Garcia and his younger sister, Sophie, have been taught to fear one word for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade. Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors. When Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken by ICE, he realizes that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American.
Daniel Aleman’s Indivisible is a remarkable story — both powerful in its explorations of immigration in America and deeply intimate in its portrait of a teen boy driven by his fierce, protective love for his parents and his sister.
Indivisible is one of those stories that is not only powerful and meaningful, but also full of raw, beautiful emotions and familial love. It’s a story with the power of hope at its center and strength imbedded within each moment. This all important story is one readers will not soon forget and one that they will eagerly pass on to their friends. I have no doubt that this debut is going to make waves in the YA community.
Indivisible put into perspective what it’s like for America-born kids to experience their parents being taken away, being forced to give up everything they’ve built in America. It was so emotional, so heartbreaking, that at times I had to stop reading to take everything in and to give myself the chance to reflect on what Mateo and his sister were going through. It was heart wrenching to read this because I couldn’t possibly imagine going through something like this. And yet families do, and that breaks my heart. But that’s a reason why this book is so tremendously important in our current times – we need books like this in our lives.
Mateo is, without a doubt, a strong character. He is too in-tuned to his emotions; his family says he feels too much and at times, throughout the book, he does. But most cases it’s warranted. I liked seeing a main character that wasn’t afraid of being too emotional, too vulnerable. Yes, he has to learn that it’s okay to lean on friends and family when strength and reassurance is needed. He has to learn that it’s okay to show vulnerability and that it’s okay to feel too much when days seem to be clouded in darkness. But even through all his internal battles, Mateo never once hesitates to take care of his sister, even when he feels like he’s drowning. He does whatever he can for his little sister, Sophie, including trying to keep everything as normal as possible. He keeps this big secret from his closest friends, which strains his relationship with them. Mateo has to navigate this new, unexpected part of his life, which proves to be extremely difficult on Mateo and Sophie.
Aleman’s writing is, as many would say, a breath of fresh air. Aleman’s writing is fresh and realistic, a new voice in a world that is always looking for bright lights. And his voice is one that no one will forget anytime soon. Aleman brings this timely important story to life with memorable characters and emotionally scenes. There were moments that were full of clarity, yet full of trepidation and suspense. He did a marvelous job sprinkling moments of joy in chapters that needed a little breather – when Mateo needed a minute to forget what his reality is like, a moment to dream of what his life used to be like.
Overall, I highly recommend Indivisible. This book is brimming with unfiltered emotions and a powerful story. The heart of this story is undeniably hope and love and the refusal to give up, even when everything seems like it’s caving in around you. It’s such an exceptional debut, and I cannot wait for Aleman’s next work. Trust me when I say you will be glad you picked up this book.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars