The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu

Posted 2 December, 2014 by Nikki Wang in 2014, Book Review, Stand-alone / 0 Comments

The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. AndreuThe Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu
Published by Running Press on March 11, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 336

AmazonBook Depository
As a straight-A student with a budding romance and loyal best friend, M.T.’s life seems as apple-pie American as her blondish hair and pale skin. But M.T. hides two facts to the contrary: her full name of Monserrat Thalia and her status as an undocumented immigrant. 

But it’s harder to hide now that M.T.’s a senior. Her school’s National Honor Society wants her to plan their trip abroad, her best friend won’t stop bugging her to get her driver’s license, and all everyone talks about is where they want to go to college. M.T. is pretty sure she can’t go to college, and with high school ending and her family life unraveling, she’s staring down a future that just seems empty. In the end, M.T. will need to trust herself and others to stake a claim in the life that she wants.


I was so unbelievably excited to read this story, especially since it was a topic that’s typically untouched in YA. And after seeing so many fantastic reviews of this one, it immediately shot to one of my most anticipated–of course I had to wait a while to finally get a copy, but once I did I pretty much dropped everything and read it right then.
I did love it! I loved the raw quality of MT, I loved her bravery, I loved her determination, and I just loved the feeling of the novel–but I did have some issues

But first we’ll start with the amazing things about it.

The thing about reading this story is that throughout the book you see things slowly coming together for MT’s senior year and then just slowly fall apart, and it was just absolutely heartbreaking and raw watching this happen. I had that aching feeling as MT was happy that things wouldn’t be a happy ending and when they just started slipping away I couldn’t help but feel for her and how terrible it would be to be her–and heartbroken for everyone who is, basically, her.

MT was a character I couldn’t help but love. She was, like I said, determined and strong, even if she didn’t feel like it. She was, probably, in one of the most precarious positions, but she went through life as best she could, even when it seemed like everything was just against her and as shattering as that should’ve been, MT managed to deal with it while standing tal–and even when she didn’t and when she let her paranoia and suspicions just get the better of her, she somehow managed to not lose herself in the mess that was her life, and that was just…wow.

I did have issues with the romance though. While the love interest was pretty spectacular, MT just got so suspicious over a simple “Happy Birthday” on his ex girlfriend’s Facebook page–and she most definitely overreacted. MT was paranoid and suspicious and I just felt like, while she thought that Nate was the one being suspicious, it was completely the other way around.
Despite that though, the romance was absolutely adorable, and Nate was one of the best characters in the story. He just seemed so quirky and sweet and I would like one Nate please.

Another thing that annoyed me was just that MT seemed to completely deflate after a certain teacher left who was introduced to us as MT’s favorite teacher, one who understand her and I’m all for those supportive adults–but throughout the story, the teacher seemed to be barely brought up until she became less of a character and more of a plot device.

Despite my complaints though, The Secret Side of Empty was a pretty fantastic read that I loved! It’s just that the things about it, what makes it so amazing, are so absolutely hard to explain–but I do think this book is worth the read. It’s a unique and touching story, one that you can clearly tell is personal and one that just seems…is it possible for a story to be hopeless and hopeful at once?

(Also I LOVE the title. It’s just so perfect for this, and don’t you just love word plays?)


3.5 Stars

Nikki Wang

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