Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Something in Between

Harlequin 2016. 448 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9780373212385 (hardcover)
9780373212453 (paperback)
9781460395103 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, point of view, setting, stance

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Jasmine is a top student, a selfless volunteer, captain of her high-school cheer squad and a shoo-in for valedictorian. But when she finds out she’s won a major federal scholarship, instead of celebrating, her parents shatter her dreams: their temporary work visas expired years ago and the family has been in America illegally since then. Calling attention to their cause is risky. Jasmine’s high-profile academic success could help, or it could get them deported. Yet Jasmine is nothing if not determined: “Winning at the meritocracy is my American dream” she insists. As she falls in love with Royce Blakely, son of an anti-immigration Republican congressman, she feels torn—after years in the States, she wouldn’t fit in in the Philippines, but what if she’s not American enough either?

Each chapter is headed by an epigraph from American literature or politics that shows the path and plight of the country’s immigrants, while the story itself highlights the daily uncertainty of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

As a first-person narrator, Jasmine is compelling and insightful, but also plausibly involved in the occupations and preoccupations of an all-American teenager. A contemporary feminist, Jasmine is a nuanced character, on one hand respectful of her family’s traditional views and grateful for their strong bond, and on the other, in command of her ambitions, emotions and sexuality.

The book concludes with a list of thematic and structural discussion questions.

  •  

    The novel helps the reader make word and media connections through the inclusion of epigraphs at the start of each chapter. These might act as a preface, a chapter summary, a connection to another text or a counter-example that invites comparison.

  •  

    Select one or more epigraphs and, with a partner or in a small group, discuss how they relate to the chapter and the novel as a whole.

  •  Choose a favourite epigraph from the book and do a quickwrite in response to the quotation. Share the quickwrite with a small group of peers and discuss how it might be developed into a longer written or spoken production.
  •  

    “It was my father who taught us that an immigrant must work twice as hard as anybody else, that he must never give up.” In a small group, discuss why you believe Zidane’s father told him that and how it impacted his life.

  •  While you read, identify the high and low points of Jasmine’s story.
  •  Write a short essay on one of the quotations featured in each chapter. In your essay, explore the connections between the quotation and the chapter’s main idea.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To solve problems
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal Development