Something in Between

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Something in Between Book Poster Image
Teen romance inspires empathy for immigrants.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

End note quotes Wikipedia page on the Dream Act and current policy on immigration and citizenship status of long-term resident children of immigrant parents. Author's note explains de la Cruz's own path to citizenship. Story promotes awareness and empathy for undocumented immigrants by highlighting contributions to society and by explaining some of the politics, procedures, and pitfalls in getting visas, green cards, and so on. Insight into Filipino culture both in the U.S. and the Philippines. Positive quotes from historical and current figures about the immigrant experience.

Positive Messages

The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are regular people pursuing the American dream and don't deserve to be treated like criminals. There's no "deserving" when it comes to love; just take it when it comes, count yourself lucky, and give it back. No one else can define who you are, only you can, and you can always choose who you want to be. You can make it through hard times by being persistent and by letting family and friends help and support you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jasmine is a high-achieving senior in high school, cheerleading captain, winner of a prestigious national scholarship, and expected to be accepted at top universities. She sees the benefits of many years of hard work and even appreciates being pushed by her parents to work hard. She won't be anyone's "booty call" and realizes it's better to move slowly when it comes to sex. Royce has had to work hard to overcome dyslexia. He's loyal, supportive, and willing to help in any way he can. Both sets of parents are strong positive role models for putting family first and supporting their kids' paths to independence.


A couple of brief fights mention punches. Both are resolved positively by talking. A violent video game with shooting and a red TV screen is mentioned.


Making out mentioned but not described. Some passionate kissing with a few brief descriptions. Feelings of physical attraction and being in love. Older teens alone in a hotel room lie on top of the bed covers. Hooking up and "booty call" mentioned a few times.


"Asshole," "ass," "dumbass," "hell," "goddamn," "pissed off," "damn," "Fartzilla," "King Krap."


A few clothing, car, and food brands establish location or character.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink beer and wine coolers at a party. Jasmine drinks beer and champagne once or twice. A teen drinks heavily at a party, including from a flask, and models hostile drunken behavior. A teen drinks heavily before a party and throws up. Another teen also throws up after drinking. Other negative consequences of underage drinking include an undocumented immigrant's risk of being caught and deported.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Something in Between is a teen romance by veteran author Melissa de la Cruz. Sexy stuff is fairly light, with some passionate kissing briefly described and mention of making out. There are a lot of positive role models for academic and athletic achievement, pushing yourself, and working hard. The story encourages empathy for undocumented immigrants, and teens will learn a lot about what people go through in pursuit of the American dream. They'll also gain a lot of insight into Filipino culture.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byAlly K. August 9, 2018

Very entertaining!

I definitely enjoyed reading this! As someone who has been an American citizen since birth, it was very interesting to see someone else’s view of America. I enj... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 21, 2020

Awsome book!

It was an awsome book and I loved reading it
Teen, 14 years old Written bysliceofsadness August 7, 2019

A Series of Missed Opportunities

Spoilers, though one shouldn't care too much about them. As a student who is reading this book, i can indubitably tell you that this book is an utter disap... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SOMETHING IN BETWEEN, all the years of hard work are about to pay off for high school senior Jasmine de los Santos. Her top grades should get her major scholarships to the country's top universities, and as captain of the cheerleading team she's determined to win the national championship this year. What's more, it turns out that cute guy who asked for her phone number is the son of a prominent congressman. But Jasmine's world crumbles when she learns that her parents never got green cards for the family after their work visas expired and that they've been in the United States illegally for years. Goodbye, scholarships. Goodbye, future. Goodbye, boyfriend. Except Jasmine's never been one to just give up, and she's determined to find a way to make her dreams come true after all.

Is it any good?

Veteran author Melissa de la Cruz gives us an engaging twist on the standard teen romance formula of young lovers from vastly different backgrounds fighting for a future together. Romance fans will be more than happy with the swoon-worthy Royce and hardworking, high-achieving Jasmine. But they'll also learn a lot about what it's like to be an undocumented immigrant and about the real effects America's laws and policies have on people's lives.

Something in Between blasts a number of stereotypes and provides refreshing insight into Filipino culture. Romance fans are unlikely to notice or mind some of the hokey dialogue and predictable plot twists, and they'll get a lot of food for thought, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Something in Between portrays undocumented immigrants. Did anything surprise you about Jasmine and her family? Does their situation seem realistic?

  • Did you read the notes at the end? What do you think of the Dream Act and the DACA policy? If you knew about them before, did the book change your mind about anything?

  • Have you read any other books by Melissa de la Cruz? How does this one compare? How does it compare to your favorite romances?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love immigrant stories and teen romances

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