When your country doesn’t want you there, how do you know where you belong?
Jasmine de los Santos has been pushed by her immigrant parents to over-achieve and be the best she can be. She’s thrilled to be named a finalist for a big college scholarship. But when she brings home the paperwork, she learns that she and all her family are in the country illegally.
As Jasmine’s world shatters around her, she rebels, trying to make sense of herself―who is she? Is she American? Illegal? Something in between? Jasmine decides to accept the award anyway and goes to D.C., where she meets Royce Blakely, the handsome son of a Republican congressman. As she fights for her very identity, will Jasmine find help in unexpected places, and will she ever figure out where she belongs?
Published by Mira Ink
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After a couple minutes, Coach calls out for me. “Santos! Mrs. Garcia needs a word with you.”
Me? Is something wrong? Uncertainty creeps into my stomach. It’s October and I’ve been trying to narrow down my list of colleges. Did I miss an early application deadline? I’ve been going to Mrs. Garcia’s office every couple of weeks since junior year to make sure I’m on track. Could she have forgotten to tell me something important?
I help Kayla up before walking over, trying not to look too worried. Coach winks at me as she passes by on her way back to the group, and I’m relieved. This can only mean something good.
“I have something special for you,” Mrs. Garcia says as she hands me an envelope. She folds her arms, a slight smile turning up the corners of her mouth.
My heart begins to beat when I see a fancy logo printed in official navy blue ink on the top right corner: United States National Scholars Program, Department of Education. Somehow, I know I’m holding my future in my hands. The one I’ve worked so hard for. The one my parents have dreamed of ever since we moved here from the Philippines when I was only nine years old. Danny was a toddler and Isko was still a newborn. I remember holding Danny’s hand on the plane while my mom cradled Isko on her lap as the plane rushed down the runway, lifting off toward America.
I wrote about it in my application essay, how one of my earliest memories is of looking out the window in our first house in California, at the bright lights and the stark silhouettes of palm trees, and how different it was from the view of the green and wet mountains in our house in Antipolo, where it was always muggy and raining, and we always kept the mosquito screens closed. I’ve come to think of America as an open window—open to new possibilities, to the new life promised to those who journey from far away to reach its shores.
The National Scholar Award is one of the most prestigious in the nation, bestowed upon only the top high school students, the best of the best, who are chosen not only on their grades and scores but on their personal essays and teacher recommendations. It’s a bit like applying to college, I guess, but it’s even harder than getting into the Ivy League. I worked so hard on my application and I wanted it so badly. Now that it’s here, I’m shaking.
Mrs. Garcia puts her hand on my shoulder, startling me back to the present. “I’m so proud of you,” she says like I’m her own daughter.
I tear the envelope open, nearly ripping the letter apart.
As I unfold the letter, my eyes drift to the signature at the bottom. It’s actually signed—not printed—by the president of the United States. I return to the top and begin reading the body of the letter…
About the Author
Melissa de la Cruz is the author of many best-selling novels, including the Blue Bloods series; the Au Pairs series; the Ashleys series; and Angels on Sunset Boulevard. She is also a frequent contributor to Glamour, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter, and is hard at work on her next book.
@HQYoungAdult @MelissadelaCruz #SomethingInBetween