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A 2014 National Indie Excellence Award winner
A Junior Library Guild Selection, 2014
A School Library Journal Top 10 Latino Books of 2014

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.

With senior year of high school kicking into full swing, M.T. sees her hopes for a “normal” future unraveling. And it will take discovering a sense of trust in herself and others for M.T. to stake a claim in the life that she wants.

Author Maria E. Andreu draws from her personal experience to tell a story that is timely, relevant, and universally poignant.

about Maria E. Andreu

  • Maria E. Andreu is a writer and speaker whose work has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post, NJ.com, and the Newark Star Ledger. The Secret Side of Empty is her debut novel. Maria is a proud mother of two and an adoptive mother to various furry creatures, and she loves her iris and rose garden and an occasional night out in New York City. She was born in Spain and currently lives in New Jersey. You can visit her online at mariaeandreu.com.


"Andreu has crafted an empathetic yet gritty narrative; readers will ache for M.T. as they are let into her secret life. A timely and powerful portrait of the American dream deferred.
—Kirkus Reviews

"Eye-opening and wrenching."
—Publishers Weekly

“Andreu's debut novel paints a realistic, yet hopeful, portrayal of the challenges of undocumented immigrants. M.T.'s first person narration gives readers an intimate view of the precarious nature of her life.”

“With immigration reform a hot button issue across the country, this book couldn't be timelier. Written with compassion and raw emotions of one who has lived in the shadows herself, Andreu's debut offering is a winner.”

“[T]he book effectively generates empathy for the plight of the undocumented as well as the abused by giving voice and dimension to M. T. She is a complex character… [T]he feelings that accompany it deserve an airing and can open discussions about and beyond immigration, stretching to any teen who feels as if his or her circumstances offer little hope for the future.”
–Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB)

other editions

  • eBook | ISBN 9780762452057
    Pub date: 03/11/2014 | Price: 12.99 Canada/$9.99
    336 Pages
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Emigration & Immigration
    JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United States / Hispanic & Latino
    JUVENILE FICTION / Family / General
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