{Leah Reviews} The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt

Posted January 31, 2017 by Leah in Reviews, Uncategorized / 2 Comments

{Leah Reviews} The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt

The Radius of Us

by Marie Marquardt
Pages: 304
Published on January 17th 2017
by St. Martin's Griffin
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Social Issues
Format: ARC
Source: Won in giveaway
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

What happens when you fall in love with someone everyone seems determined to fear? Ninety seconds can change a life — not just daily routine, but who you are as a person. Gretchen Asher knows this, because that’s how long a stranger held her body to the ground. When a car sped toward them and Gretchen’s attacker told her to run, she recognized a surprising terror in his eyes. And now she doesn’t even recognize herself.
Ninety seconds can change a life — not just the place you live, but the person others think you are. Phoenix Flores-Flores knows this, because months after setting off toward the U.S. / Mexico border in search of safety for his brother, he finally walked out of detention. But Phoenix didn’t just trade a perilous barrio in El Salvador for a leafy suburb in Atlanta. He became that person — the one his new neighbors crossed the street to avoid.
Ninety seconds can change a life — so how will the ninety seconds of Gretchen and Phoenix’s first encounter change theirs?
Told in alternating first person points of view, The Radius of Us is a story of love, sacrifice, and the journey from victim to survivor. It offers an intimate glimpse into the causes and devastating impact of Latino gang violence, both in the U.S. and in Central America, and explores the risks that victims take when they try to start over. Most importantly, Marie Marquardt's The Radius of Us shows how people struggling to overcome trauma can find healing in love.

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

4 Stars

The Radius of Us is a timely book. It expertly handles many current issues through our protagonists: Gretchen, a girl trying to handle the aftermath of a brutal attack; and Phoenix, a boy from El Salvador who is seeking asylum for himself and his little brother in the U.S. Together, they navigate their pasts and ultimately find the paths toward acceptance and healing.

Gretchen and Phoenix are amazing. Normally I’m not a fan of alternating narration, but it’s essential to this story and adds dimension to the characters. They each had distinct voices that had me rapidly flipping the pages. I like that, while they each have things they need to recover from, they manage to find a connection, breaking preconceived notions and perceptions of each other. Some people in Gretchen’s life want her to be “normal” again, while Phoenix’s past is revealed and threatens his fight for asylum. At first, their romance is a little too instalove for my liking, but as their tales unfold, I found myself rooting for them to work. Seeing their character development is worthwhile.

This is not always a light read. Told in Gretchen and Phoenix’s alternating points of view, it’s a glimpse of manmade horrors–there are descriptions of gang violence, brutality and the panic attacks Gretchen experiences since her attack, but these are hard truths that can’t be ignored. Just when I thought everything was golden, something would be revealed that would shake me with its unflinching reality. Marie Marquardt has done impeccable research as an author and co-chair for immigration  services. Her passion for the young people she meets and their stories she wants to tell shows on each page.

If you’re looking for an investing contemporary that handles current issues well, give The Radius of Us a read.

**Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC, won in a giveaway via Goodreads!**



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2 responses to “{Leah Reviews} The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt

  1. Liza

    This one wasn’t even in my radar Leah. As you mentioned, I think it is a very timely read and it deals with very serious issues. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

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