Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt

Title: The Radius of Us
Author: Marie Marquardt
Format: eARC
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: January 17, 2017
Source: Publisher/ Netgalley

What's the Story?:

From "Ninety seconds can change a life — not just daily routine, but who you are as a person. Gretchen Asher knows this, because that’s how long a stranger held her body to the ground. When a car sped toward them and Gretchen’s attacker told her to run, she recognized a surprising terror in his eyes. And now she doesn’t even recognize herself.

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just the place you live, but the person others think you are. Phoenix Flores-Flores knows this, because months after setting off toward the U.S. / Mexico border in search of safety for his brother, he finally walked out of detention. But Phoenix didn’t just trade a perilous barrio in El Salvador for a leafy suburb in Atlanta. He became that person — the one his new neighbors crossed the street to avoid.

Ninety seconds can change a life — so how will the ninety seconds of Gretchen and Phoenix’s first encounter change theirs?"

My Two Cents:

"The Radius of Us" is the story of Gretchen, a young woman who faced an assault so bad that she still experiences panic attacks well after the attack took place. It's also the story of Phoenix, who escaped from violent El Salvador in search of a new life. After ending up in detention in the United States, he is incredibly lucky to be adopted into a home in Atlanta. He'll have to get used to a brand new place while worrying about his little brother who is trapped in detention for underage children. This is a great book for young adults about a difficult subject.

I've said this before but it bears repeating: we need diverse books (look up the hashtag, all). It's so especially important for young adults. These books may be the first time that readers are able to dive into an issue like this. I really like the authors treatment of this difficult subject. In light of the election and its run up, illegal immigration has been very much in the spotlight. Sometimes it is hard to put a face on an issue. Although Phoenix is fictional, his story is very similar to so many young people out there who have come to the country illegally because the idea of staying in a bad situation in their own company was so unfathomable. It's important to see those examples in the books that we read so we can understand a little more about what it might be like to walk in somebody else's  shoes.

The writing of the book was good. The author did a great job of making the characters feel realistic through the details on their back stories. This is the second book that I've read by Marquardt and I really appreciate how she brings to life real issues without being preachy or sacrificing a good story for a message (although the message is certainly there).



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