Cover Image: Indivisible

Indivisible

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Member Reviews

Family, friendships, school, work, deportation, immigration, ICE.  When Mateo's parents are deported from the US and he is left in charge of his parents store and taking care of his younger sister, he feels torn and depleted.  How will he handle all of this and finishing high school? This is another powerful story of what it is like for many families who live in the US currently. Their fears are real and they don't know where to turn.   Great story and a must read.
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Mateo Garcia is a Mexican-American teenager living in New York with his sister and parents. He dreams of stardom and getting to go to the prestigious Tisch drama school, but fears his family getting deported one day. When ICE comes and picks up his parents, Mateo’s dreams get set aside as he must keep his parent’s bodega afloat, cope with living with his dad’s best friend, and maintain a positive attitude at school. As he takes on adult responsibilities, will he discover who he really is as a person and what he can accomplish? A coming-of age story, readers will relate to the authentic friendship dynamics and realistic, well-developed characters. The narrative is well-done, and the author expertly handles the different situation in the book. Recommended 4 stars, Gr 9 and up for libraries in need of more diverse books and coming-of-age stories. 
Please note: This was a review copy given to us by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No financial compensation was received.
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Solidly written. The characters are compelling and the scenarios believable. And  I liked the journey that Matt goes through, how a major trauma causes him to question his dreams and the way he defines himself. Each section of the book as a unique tone and thrust. Some of the threads are not sufficiently tied off but it's still pretty decent.
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After being born in the states and his parents having been here for so long, Mateo stopped worrying so much about his parents potential deportation. That is until he returns home from school and learns of ICE arresting his parents. 

Aleman writes in one of the rawest ways I have every had the pleasure of reading. He is not afraid to show you the significant love between Matteo and his family. I love how Aleman did not make it a key point for any romance, though there was a small part between Mateo and Adam, as well as did not make sure to over exploit Mateo’s sexuality. The story centered around the relationship between Mateo and his extremely vulnerable little sister Sophie. This book deserves to be read by so many people.
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This book! Where to start with this book! 

Indivisible follows Mateo Garcia, a teen whose worst nightmare comes true when his parents are detained by ICE, leaving him to care for his 7-year-old sister and the family bodega. Hard to read at times, this book takes you on a journey alongside Mateo as he fights for his family’s survival, losing sight of his own dreams in the process.

This is such an important story that needs to be in every secondary classroom. I knew that stories like this existed in the real world, but reading this book caused me to come face-to-face with the millions of tiny ways a single person’s life can be torn apart so quickly. I loved the friendships in this book as well, and how Mateo has to learn to trust his closest friends with the messiest parts of himself. I also had no idea how the story would turn out, so this kept me reading and hoping the Garcias could be together again.

While I loved this book fiercely, there were moments when the pacing felt off. Early in the story, I was dying to know what would happen next, but the middle slowed waaaay down, while the ending felt like it didn’t leave me enough processing time for the emotional culmination of everything. Ultimately, this book is well worth the read, and I look forward to whatever Aleman writes next!

Final Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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Indivisible is a powerful, thought-provoking, emotional story that I cannot wait to incorporate into my classroom. Daniel Aleman provides readers with an intimate experience of the impact of the country's immigration policies and humanizes the experiences students are reading in the headlines. If the world is going to change for the better, students need to experience books like Indivisible.
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Heartwrenching tale of a family separated by deportation and their struggle to reunite. The love within their family is steadfast and helps them persist. Timely and important read.
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When I learned that Indivisible by Daniel Aleman was about a family separated by deportation, I knew this story would be a heartbreaking one. I began reading this story for its timely content and representation. Far too often, the news covers immigration as if it was a faceless issue and not about the people who interact and enrich the community. This book offers the more human perspective of what it means when a family is separated by ICE. Despite this, the book is also about a teenage boy. Mateo is navigating college applications, extracurriculars, and relationships all while trying to care for his sister while both of his parents are locked at separate detention centers. Even with the help of from family friends, Mateo must endure an unfathomable situation and decide whether it is safe to disclose his immigration status with others. 

Understandably, this book is full of heartache. Both Mateo and his sister are dealing with trauma associated from family separation. Mental illness and emotional duress is a common discussion throughout the book. Mateo refrains from discussing his situation at school out of the attempt to have a "normal" part to his life, which strains his academics and relationships. Every step of the way, you feel how caught Mateo feels. More than anything, you hope for the best possible outcome for Mateo and his family even when the situation seems increasingly more impossible. There are some incredibly difficult moments in this novel, and yet each character asks "What now?" and pushes forward. Although not everything ends perfectly, this story perfectly balances a harsh reality with a hopeful future.
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The book was alright. I enjoyed following the main character through their challenges, but I was never fully invested in him or the novel. It didn't capture me the way I had hoped it would, unfortunately. That's not to say it was a terrible read. Aleman does an excellent job at capturing the New York City setting. As someone who visited the city often while growing up, I could definitely relate to the minor details of the book while the Mat was traveling around the city and hanging out with his friends. I also enjoyed the large cast of characters that he experimented with from Mat's friends to his family members. Each one felt unique to a certain extent, though I wish we received more interaction with his uncle's wife and the infant. They were there, but it never felt like they were a huge part of the novel.
I recommend giving this book a read if you're interested in a good coming-of-age novel that features family challenges over romance.
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Indivisible is a debut novel from Daniel Aleman with relevant, timely themes. Mateo, a junior in high school, and his elementary-aged sister Sophia must quickly adapt when their parents are picked up by immigration and then sent back to Mexico.

While Mateo had previously been consumed with theatre and college aspirations, he must rethink his goals and chooses to keep his two friends in the dark as to his struggles. He recognizes that their temporary living arrangements are putting strain on family friends, and his sister especially is struggling to accept the family separation as the parents plead from afar that the United States is where the children must remain, to make worthwhile the parents' sacrifices.

The book is around 400 pages, covering perhaps too many themes throughout. When considering the target age, but for some of the situations, I would be prepared to hand it off to upper elementary students, but I think it's better suited to middle school and older, due to references to losing virginity, a possible pregnancy, and language.

(I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)
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This story is about Matteo who is living in NY with his parents, who run a bodega and his little sister.  He aspires to be an actor and is going out on casting calls with his best friend, Adam.  In the back of Matteo's mind is always a bit of a concern about his parents, who are illegal immigrants.  One day, the worst happens, and both his mom and his dad are picked up by ICE, the immigration services.  Matteo takes care of his sister the best he can, but a family friend steps in and invites the two to live with him (and his wife and new baby in a two bedroom apartment).  Matteo's family try navigating the immigration and detention process but it's complicated and expensive.  This is also a story about friendship and how your friends can help - how to talking to your friends instead of hiding the scary parts of yourself can be healing.  It's a good story and very topical at the moment.  I think a lot of high school students will be able to identify with Matteo and his friends.
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This story shows the sobering reality for so many children of undocumented immigrant parents. I liked that it didn’t get political or focus on why Mateo’s parents were undocumented...it mainly focused on the aftermath of the ICE raid and the toll that it took on their children. It felt authentic for the most part, although there were a few moments where I was pulled out of the story because it felt inauthentic. I loved the characters and felt their burdens and joys along with them.
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Indivisible is one of those important books that everyone needs to read, especially in todays world. As someone whose grandparents immigrated from Italy, I have no idea what people face today. Being sent back to your country and having to leave your children in America must be one of the scariest and upsetting things a family can go through. Indivisible was really well written and I felt everything that the character, Mateo was feeling and experiencing. This book was very real and I highly recommend it.
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High school junior, Mateo, aspires to one day attend the Tisch school at NYU to pursue his dreams of musical theater. Until then, he has to manage his school work, his job at his family's bodega, and his test scores to be able to afford school in the first place. When his parents are detained by ICE and his family faces the reality of deportation, Mateo must become the sole provider to his sister, Sophie. All of the normal pressures of being a teen living in NYC are compounded by his new responsibilities: paying the rent, feeding and clothing himself and his sister, giving his sister a "normal" childhood. 

Mateo's story is heartbreaking and anxiety inducing. I have had students experience similar situations in the past, and it hurt so much reading Mateo's perspective and realizing how heavy a burden they (and many other teens) carried, but still were expected to show up to school and try to learn. 

While I normally gripe about YA realistic fiction being entirely predictable, several plot lines were not predictable in the least. Most notably, the main conflict with Mateo and his family struggling to stay in America had me surprised a few times! The more teen-related conflicts, however, mostly centering on communication and identity, went just about as I expected them to. Maybe I'm just really adept at figuring out what teens will do at this point? 

The only other noticeable detractor for me was the repetition of the symbolism in the beginning of the book -- Aleman refers to Mateo bearing a heavy weight several times early on, and the repetitiveness pulled me out of the story in a few spots. Even for a teenage audience, it can be more subtle and still be communicated effectively. But an altogether small gripe nonetheless.

"Indivisible" will find a home on my classroom library shelves. It is a gut-wrenching story that is an unfortunate reality for plenty of young people today, embedded within some standard YA fare that is sure to engage students and educate them about this perspective.
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This book broke my heart. Partly because it’s my most frequent nightmare, but mostly because it’s so true to life and so many people can sadly relate to it. Indivisible is such a good book that I preordered a hard copy from my local book store before I was even 20% through the ARC. 

Mateo Garcia is a junior in high school, living in NYC with his parents and sister Sophia. This tight knit, hardworking, and happy family is ripped apart when ICE suddenly detains Mateo’s parents. Mateo is forced to make huge changes in his life that he doesn’t feel prepared for, and the future that he thought was laid out in front of him doesn’t seem so clear anymore.

Daniel Aleman has written a beautiful, heartbreaking, and realistic novel on the realities of the US immigration system, how it targets families and rips them apart, and forces children and adults to make choices that they would not have to do if the policies were not based on exclusion but rather on inclusion. As someone who knows the system too well I feel like the author did a brilliant job of depicting it, and the long-ranging consequences of each ICE raid and interaction. I expect many people who don’t have to deal with the immigration don’t understand exactly how it works, and I really, really wish they would. Books like Indivisible portray a very realistic overview of life as an undocumented person or in a family where certain members are undocumented. Highly, highly recommended read.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Absolutely excellent (and heartbreaking) novel about a mixed-documentation family torn apart by ICE and increased anti-immigrant xenophobia. Mateo, a high school Junior, wants to be an actor some day. But his dreams of attending theatre school and making it on Broadway are suddenly changed when his parents are taken away by ICE agents and he is left as the sole breadwinner and caretaker of his seven year old sister. Over the course of several months Mateo navigates his parents incarceration, their eventual deportation, and his sister's degrading mental health all while trying to keep up with school, running his father's bodega (the only source of income for  Mateo and his sister and his parents in Mexico), and ensuring he and his sister remain both housed and out of Child Protective Services.
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Gosh. I'm not even sure I have words for how much I loved this book. 

"Indivisible" tells the story of Mateo and his efforts to keep his family together as his parents face deportation. It's powerful in its explorations of immigration in America and tells a deeply intimate  portrait of a teen boy driven by his fierce, protective love for his parents and his sister. 

I couldn't put it down once I started, and was completely engrossed from beginning to end. What a beautiful and important book -- tender and heart-wrenching and resonant. The writing was beautiful and meaningful without being flower-y or over-the-top, the characters were real and well-developed, and the story is incredibly important and impactful. ...Just wow. 

It's a book I'm going to be thinking about -- and recommending to everyone -- for a long time. (I know I'm also going to be buying several copies for myself!) An incredibly moving and important debut. Adding Daniel to my list of auto-buy authors!

Full review (and author interview!) coming soon to @longhandpencils. A big thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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Indivisible tells the story of a family with undocumented parents with native born children, high-schooler son Mateo and elementary schooler daughter Sophie.  When the parents are detained by ICE, Mateo and Sophie have to navigate their existence without their parents before working with family friends to deal with their situation.  The book addresses how one person’s detention by ICE has a ripple effect throughout the community, from their kids to their church, to the businesses they may own or work.  

Meanwhile, Mateo is grappling with typical post-high school planning from SATs to colleges.  He must contend with drastic changes that reshape all of his plans while also trying to deal with the changing relationships of his best friends.  The one part I was not entirely convinced of concerned his reluctance to tell his closest friends what was going on in his family, leaving his friends alienated and befuddled. Then he enters a relationship when he clearly is under a lot of stress and not in the best headspace.  Throughout the story, we are on the side of Mateo and his family while seeing each of them as the imperfect people that they are. 

I recommend this book to high schoolers or anyone interested in the immigration debate.  The text shows that it is not always as clear what is “right” when children are involved.

Thank you NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Mateo's life revolves around school, his family's bodega, his love for Broadway shows, and his friends. He looks after his little sister Sophie, and wonders how he's going to make it big in theater and when he'll have his first boyfriend. When Mateo's parents get taken by ICE, his whole world changes. As Mateo is thrust into a parental role, can he keep his family from falling apart?

Indivisible is an important look at immigration and how it affects both those who are living in the United States illegally, and their children who are often American born citizens. Daniel Aleman writes characters that clearly depict the struggles of immigrants without delving deeply into the political sides surrounding the topic of immigration.
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This book was such a powerful story about love and sacrifice that permeates the immigrant experience. I ached for Mateo and the choices he had to make to care for his sister and face the awful circumstances of his parents’ deportations.  The anger at the deportation process, at the separation of families, and the callousness involved. But also, the strength of community. All of it is so beautifully rendered in this book. I did find the interpersonal relationships between Mateo’s friend groups and eventual romantic relationship and but lacking of substance and felt like some of the characters who were supposed to be huge presences in his life were a bit of an afterthought, and I think this stunted some of the emotional impact of the heavier scenes. But overall, a great book that I would recommend to absolutely everyone.
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