Secret Side of Empty - Review

The Secret Side of Empty - Maria E. Andreu


“How do you explain to someone that you are so horrible and useless that your own father despises you? I am so ashamed. I don’t want them to know because I know they’ll figure out what that means about me. The dirty, ugly outcast I really am.”


“… seventeen ways to say Illegal: Broken, Alone, Not allowed, Wrong, Trapped, Shunned, Unwanted, Not good enough, Apart, A secret, On the wrong side, Misplaced, A threat, A mistake, Voiceless, Unheard, and Still here anyway."


M.T. is a high school senior in New Jersey, brought here by her parents from Argentina as a baby, and her family is undocumented. Her father is abusive and her mother is too timid to do anything about it. M.T. is ashamed to tell even her best friend about her secrets.


This was a tough book to read. I hated to see M.T. so alone and suffering. Then again, this book tackles a lot of issues. She is bright and wants to go to college, but she can't because she is undocumented. Her father abuses her. She contemplates suicide and tries drugs and alcohol.


This is the second book I read for my multicultural issue paper. Unlike Alma in the first book (Dream Things True), M.T. doesn't have a supportive community who shares her concerns about being illegal. M.T. has been in the United States her entire life. She and her brother don't know any other life. She faces the same issues of insecurity and worries about acceptance that any other teen faces, but she is also dealing with an abusive father and being illegal.


This is another good book for teens to read. I think they will enjoy the story and along the way, they may find a tolerance they didn't know they had. It is hard when all the media and news you see is telling you to think one thing or another. This book may help teens develop their own thoughts on the situation.