Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz
Published by: Mira Ink
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was really excited to read Something in Between because of the subject matter. It’s a shame that I read this one so soon after The Sun is Also a Star, though, as I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the portrayal of illegal immigrants. Both authors took the same stance: that it’s unjust and an ugly term to describe people that have only done what was best for their families, and I think that message was the most powerful, but I wholeheartedly preferred Nicola Yoon’s take because it felt less romanticised. Let’s discuss…
Real Life Fairy Tale?
Being granted full citizenship to a country you’ve lived in all your life is definitely up there with mermaids learning what legs feel like, and I really liked this modern fairy tale vibe Something in Between had running throughout. I liked best figuring out what elements were most prominent, like the fairy god mother, but couldn’t help cringing at the heavy-handed ‘So, I’m Cinderella and you’re Prince Charming’ reference at the end.
But, the thing with fairy tales is…they always have a happy ending. And as The Sun is Also a Star admits, being deported doesn’t always end in happily ever after. I was really wondering how this book was going to end, and whether Jasmine would get to go to college and stay in the States.
If there’s one thing I can’t stomach though, it’s drama for the sake of drama. There were so many near-misses in this book, so many moments where Jasmine almost got caught out, or thought she’d found a solution, only for it to go pear shaped in the next chapter. I got tired of reading the repetitive structure, that I ended up putting the book down for two weeks to read something a little less predictable.
The Perfect Protagonist
Jasmine was literally perfect. There’s no other word to describe her. She was captain of her cheerleading team, adored by teachers and students alike, had a great circle of friends and got amazing grades. Do people like this really exist?? I was reading the book just waiting for Jasmine to have a flaw.
And although I know this wasn’t what Melissa de la Cruz intended, it almost felt like Jasmine was more worthy than a more average person to be given a green card. We knew, from her National Scholarship award, that she’d be a credit to society, but so would all the other illegal immigrant that do what her parents do, the tough jobs that no one else wants. If Jasmine had had a bit more grit to her personality, I think I would have got more onboard with her campaign for reform.
Coincidences left, right and centre
Jasmine wouldn’t be in the situation she was in unless she’d stumbled across an old, rich lady and got in a relationship with Royce, who’s father was powerful in the US government and with very little persuading, would help the de los Santos family gain legal citizenship. I definitely had to suspend my disbelief with the sequence of events and how everything seemed to work in Jasmine’s favour, until some fabricated drama came along to mess up her life for a chapter, before being resolved.
Overall, I’m only giving Something in Between 2 stars. It hurts to say it, but I was genuinely bored reading some parts of this book. The romance didn’t engage me, because it felt like Royce and Jasmine didn’t have enough sympathy for each other’s positions, the conflict always expired within a few pages and perfection is overrated. I definitely enjoyed the relevant quotes at the beginning of chapters and would still recommend this book to anyone wanted to inject some well needed diversity into their TBR, but be aware that this book could probably do with some seasoning, to help it be digested better.