Mickelson, Marcia Argueta

Where I Belong

(2) YA Millie Vargas is a standout high school senior in Corpus Christi, Texas, whose family came to the United States from Guatemala as asylum seekers when she was a baby; she cares for her three younger siblings while her widowed mother works as a housekeeper. Millie is now a citizen, but her world is turned upside down when her mother's employer, who is running for U.S. Senate, outs Millie's previously undocumented status to the media while stating his case for supporting immigration. This revelation makes the Vargas family a target of xenophobic actions, with tragic results. Mickelson's novel explores the devastating effect that a seemingly inconsequential action, done for political gain, can have. Millie confronts situations that would be difficult for even the most resilient of adults to face, and she must decide whether to shield herself and her family from further attacks or accept heavy responsibility and public scrutiny as an advocate for immigrants who do not have the benefit of the protections she holds as a citizen. The reader is drawn into Millie's heartbreaking inner monologue as the story pointedly cultivates informed empathy for the diversity of immigrant experiences while emphasizing the importance of humility for those who stand as allies.


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