The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu
It’s the story of a teen girl that is American in every way except for in one very important way: on paper. She was brought to the U.S. as a baby without proper documentation, so she’s “illegal.” As the end of the safe haven of her high school days draw near, she faces an uncertain future. Full of humor and frustration and love, The Secret Side of Empty speaks to the part in all of us that has felt excluded or has had a secret too scary to share. What M.T., the main character, finally discovers is the strength of the human spirit and the power that’s unleashed when you finally live the truth.
Maria’s writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post and the Star Ledger. Her debut novel, The Secret Side of Empty, is the story of an “illegal” high school senior. It was inspired by Maria’s own experiences as an undocumented teen. Since becoming a citizen, Maria has run her own business and has become a soccer mom. She lives with her 13-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son in northern New Jersey.
Maria Andreu’s website- http://mariaeandreu.com/
Maria Andreu on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritersideofM
Maria Andreu on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maria.andreu.books
What’s it like to be undocumented? High school senior M.T. knows all too well. With graduation and an uncertain future looming, she must figure out how to grow up in the only country she’s ever called home… a country in which she’s “illegal.”
M.T. was born in Argentina and brought to America as a baby without any official papers. And as questions of college, work, and the future arise, M.T. will have to decide what exactly she wants for herself, knowing someone she loves will unavoidably pay the price for it. On the way, M.T. must navigate first love, letting go of her childhood friends as they begin a life she can’t share, a difficult relationship with a father who grew up a world away and a mother struggling to find her way in America. What is it like when the only country you’ve ever known says you don’t belong? The Secret Side of Empty offers an intimate, often surprising glimpse into a story you often hear on the news but have never heard told this way before.
Author Maria E. Andreu draws from her personal experience as a former undocumented immigrant to explore issues of belonging, keeping secrets and what it’s like to be undocumented. More than that, The Secret Side of Empty is a story that will touch anyone who has ever felt excluded or unsure about the future or has kept a secret she felt was too big too share.
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1. What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?
It haunts me that I can’t remember the title, because it was a book that really blew my mind. It was about a girl who had a doll in a little wardrobe case filled with outfits. Then she lost it. Every time she told the story of how wonderful the doll and her outfits were, it got a little more embellished. Eventually it became The Greatest Doll Ever. After the winter passed she found it under a pile of leaves. It was not as amazing as she had made it out to be. I thought that was profound – that memory can shift like that and that we can believe things that aren’t so. I read that book over and over again.
2. What are you reading right now?
I’m reading two books (as I usually am). I am totally loving Why We Write, a collection of essays by successful writers about the writing process and their motivation. Totally inspiring. I’m also reading The Willpower Instinct, which is about creating habits that make you more productive. I’m hoping it will help me to finish writing two books per year. 😉
3. How does your garden grow?
Well, I’m a gardener, so it grows awesome. Last year I planted an obscene amount of iris rhizomes and this year I may get even more. I love plants that you put in the ground in the fall and which flower in the spring. It feels like a promise, like held breath. You put these uninspiring looking brown roots in the ground, then they get frozen and it seems like maybe it was all folly. Then in the spring they grow green and burst with color. It’s miraculous.
4. What is the last thing you Googled?
I actually just Googled “how does your garden grow” to make sure it wasn’t some cool underground reference I should be getting but wasn’t. I am an obsessive Googler. When Google came into my life I felt I finally understood how I was going to be at peace in the world. As someone who loves to know everything, Google pulled me out of the darkness of not knowing.
5. What makes you cringe?
People being mean to other people.
WANT TO WIN AN AMAZON GIFT CARD & A KINDLE FIRE?
Maria is giving away two separate prizes on her tour, a $250 Amazon Gift Card AND a Kindle Fire.
For a chance to win the$250 Amazon gift card, OR the Kindle Fire leave a comment on her blog post for that day. Winners will be randomly selected on September 30th.
GO TO MARIA’S WEBSITE AND COMMENT ON HER CURRENT POST TO ENTER!