M.T. has a lot of things going for her. She gets great grades without trying too hard. She has an awesome best friend, Chelsea, who has stuck with her since kindergarten. She’s just met a cute guy who is about to become her boyfriend. All in all, senior year should be looking up. But it’s what she doesn’t have that’s got her full attention: the right papers to stay in the United States.
M.T. is what the news calls “illegal.” She was brought over as a baby by her undocumented parents who stayed in the U.S. without the proper papers. So while M.T. is just a regular American teenager, she can’t go on the trip abroad her National Honor Society chapter is planning, she can’t get the driver’s license her best friend Chelsea keeps bugging her to get, and she can’t figure out how to go to college. Life as she knows it seems to be coming to an end, but she can’t figure out what will replace it when everyone she knows goes away in less than a year.
The Secret Side of Empty is told in M.T.’s voice – darkly funny, sarcastic, frustrated, touchingly hopeful – and speaks in a tone that is universally poignant.
I will always be a stranger everywhere.
Meet the characters: