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Efrén Divided

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,988 ratings  ·  414 reviews
Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman - or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved.

But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare com
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 31st 2020 by Quill Tree Books
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Ernesto Cisneros Because it's pages are filled authentic people that I've had the pleasure of either teaching and learning from.…moreBecause it's pages are filled authentic people that I've had the pleasure of either teaching and learning from.(less)
Annette This is a middle grade book, the main character is 12. (Although I read it as an adult and very much enjoyed it too. :))

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Average rating 4.45  · 
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 ·  1,988 ratings  ·  414 reviews

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Ernesto Cisneros
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This review is actually from my daughter, who loves to read MG books.

She says, "It's the best book I've ever read, and I've read just about everything out there. I could actually feel like I was inside the pages. I loved every page."

I wrote the book for her... so she could see that people of color, people of Mexican descent, are worth writing and reading about. I wanted her to see her world depicted in a book.

Hope you connect with this story too.
I originally heard about Efren Divided in a workshop that I'm helping teach soon for work. It was also awarded the Pura Belpre award this year so that further put it on my radar. This book is hard hitting, heartbreaking, but also hopeful and one that doesn't necessarily center around trauma. CW: deportation of a parent

Efren Divded is a clear look at the experiences of many families when someone within the family is deported. Efren's Ama is the center of his world. She along with Efren's father w
may ➹
3.5 stars

Definitely got a few tears out of me! A realistic yet hopeful story about the heartbreaking truths of immigration and deportation in the US. I also really enjoyed the emphasis on family, and the sad reality of kids having to grow up much too fast as a result of fear and desperation. I didn’t care much for a particular friendship (found it funny that the white boy wanted to prove himself just because he was the only white boy in a brown Latine neighborhood) and I think pacing could have
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
This book literally made me cry, made my heart ache, and made me hold my breath in anticipation and fear. Efrén Divided tackles how deportation tears families apart, its impact on families - and especially young eldest siblings.

- Follows Efrén, a Mexican-American boy whose Amá is deported during an ICE raid. With his family now torn apart, Efrén now has to shoulder the responsibility of looking after his two younger siblings, who are too young to understand what is going on, while his father tak
Ms. Yingling
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Efrén and his family work very hard, but still struggle to make ends meet. His father works several jobs, and his mother makes sure that Efrén and his twin siblings, Max and Mia, are always cleaned and pressed when she walks them to school before heading to work. Efrén considers his mother "Soperwoman" because she can put food on the table, help out teachers at the school, and make sure he behaves himself in addition to everything else. His best friend, David, see
Abby Johnson
Wow, this is a much-needed book and deserves a spot on all library shelves. Not only is this a book that will spark discussion about current events and immigration policy, but it's a great story with a character that you will root for. Hand to fans of Front Desk by Kelly Yang and Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed. ...more
Shaye Miller
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Raw and gripping. Seventh-grader Efrén Nava has his hands full when his mother is suddenly deported. She always made sure everyone looked their best (always bathed, having perfectly pressed clothing, etc.). So the entire family is suddenly in limbo and struggling to survive while figuring out how to be reunited. Efrén's best friend, David, is running for office at his school, but so is their classmate, Jennifer. And Efrén is faced with the fact that Jennifer will make a great leader because she' ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

Wow. This in a timely and incredibly powerful book that highlights what it's like for a young boy to live in the US with undocumented parents from Mexico. It's a must read for 2020, and such an important book to have in classroom and public libraries because it a perspective not often seen middle grade fiction.

Efrén’s family life is turned upside down when his mother is deported. His father is working incredibly long hours to fin
NoNieqa Ramos
Give us your Amas, your Soperwomen, your mothers of might, exemplars of creativity, resilience, and self reliance. Give us your Apas, your indefatigable fathers, exemplars of selflessness and perseverance. Give us your Effrens, your golden children of endless potential, the embodiment of the American dream. This book is a lamp illuminating where we fail and where we can succeed and overcome, a torch of protest against injustice, and a golden door into crucial conversations we need to have in our ...more
I cried.

Seriously. Those last few chapters - I cried.

Oh this book HURT but the message and theme is needed for today's world and today's families. Parents get deported and their U.S. born children are left to deal with the (many) repercussions from that. Efrén is such a loving and sensitive soul and seeing him hurt and upset about his Amá made me hurt and upset. His interactions with his younger siblings and his best friend David as well as his Amá and Apá was well done. This is a boy whose fami
Denise Deegan
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This isn’t just a great book, it’s an important one. At a time when families are being divided and deported, we need to hear the voice of the oppressed. When his mother disappears and his worst nightmare comes true, Efren puts on a brave face as he struggles to look after his young brother and sister and find a way to get his Ama home. It was an honor to read this story of courage in the face of injustice.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Efren Divided is a stunning, masterful, and timely debut. Cisneros balances both the despair of a family torn apart by US immigration policies and the loving determination of a boy to bridge the divide. Firmly rooted in nepantla, the liminal space of all border folk, young Efrén rises to every challenge, discovering within himself and his community the magic to make a milagro.
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Kim Bahr
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great story reminding us to not be “nearsighted sometimes. We forget that kids can have problems too.” Love the quotes on P. 113 & 116; very appropriate for today’s times.
Beverly Plass
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this mid-grade book. It's both heart-wrenching and heart-warming. Efren lives with his tight-knit family, until their lives are shattered when his mom gets deported. Reading about his struggles was enlightening and helped me build a deeper understanding of their experience. ...more
Destinee Sutton
Heartbreaking, timely, compelling. Recommended for all kids.

I appreciated this book but didn’t love it. The dialogue struck me as a little corny at times, especially David’s. Overall, this felt like a book written to deliver a message, but an important and good one. The story had no villains except our broken immigration system.

I can’t decide if the ending was perfect or terrible. It will definitely spark discussion and hopefully research. Tragically realistic but the author attempts to instil
Steve Bjorkman
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From the opening pages I found myself completely immersed in a world so different from mine, yet just a neighborhood away. Ernesto Cisneros has the ability to pull me into another culture, where from the beginning I care about these characters deeply. A compelling read. I'll never hear a low flying police helicopter in the same way again. ...more
Feb 23, 2021 rated it liked it
Very moving, very now. Well written and some readers will definitely find themselves in it, but I wonder about one part. You need to have a STRONG or persistent reader to push through the language challenges presented by the English to Spanish and vice versa transitions. There is a glossary of all the terms and phrases used in the back, and you can gather the meaning without knowing the language from surrounding paragraphs, but it still requires more dedication to the story/book/task than your a ...more
Nicole M. Hewitt
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This is one of those timely books that you want to put into the hands of all middle graders—and a whole bunch of adults too. When Efrén’s mother is deported, it turns his life upside down in a myriad of ways. Suddenly, his father has to work even more to try and earn the money to bring her back home, and Efrén now has the responsibility of taking care of his siblings. There’s the stress of missing his mother, of missed
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It's great. I love it. I cried like 5 times. Efrén's parents are here in the US without papers, and like so many families with undocumented parents, they are working overtime to barely scrape by. Still, Efrén is happy. He loves his parents and siblings and even the neighborhood they live in--sure, he would like nice things but he knows that isn't what counts. Then, one day the bad thing happens. The story ensues. An eye-opening book for children unexperienced in the world of immigration. ...more
Tanya Prax
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A story about a young boy that has his worn torn apart when one of his undocumented parents gets deported. A difficult subject done with compassion and feeling. This would be great for middle grade kids to foster an understanding of current immigration issues.
Danielle Hammelef
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story focusing on friendship, family, and tough issues such as immigration, deportation, and racism. I adored Efren's family and the supportive teachers he had in his life. The ending was not what I was expecting, but felt perfect for this novel. ...more
Shauna Yusko
Late to the party on this one but WOW
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brief thoughts originally posted 16 October 2020 at Falling Letters.

Efrén is such a sweet kid. He struggles to put on a brave face and care for his siblings – both things no kid should ever have to do. The scene when he arrives home to find his mom isn’t there cooking dinner hit me hard. It’s one thing to read about families like Efrén’s in the news and feel infuriated. It’s another to read a visceral scene and feel how heartbreaking it is for a mother not to be there to feed her children. This
Lorie Barber
I read this book in a day. Couldn't put it down. Started planning how I could use it as a beginning-of-the-year read aloud next year.
I absolutely loved the character conflicts - both internal and external, the changes the protagonist and supporting characters all experience as a result of events in the story, and the message of never giving up, no matter what life throws at you, that the author wove throughout the story from the very beginning to the last paragraph.
But the teacher in me. The hu
Jan 06, 2020 added it
Shelves: read-in-2020
A wonderful, insightful, necessary novel filled with brave, kind, memorable characters. As I read, I kept wondering how Ernesto Cisneros was going to balance the need to stay true to a heart-wrenching, terrifying topic while providing enough hope for a middle grade audience. I think he pulls off this difficult balance masterfully and was so moved and impressed with this debut novel.
Katie Lawrence
I think Efrén and his family will stick with me for a while. This is a timely, important, moving read. I’m so thankful this book exists.

Thank you to Harper Collins for the advanced copy received at ALA Midwinter
Sedley Abercrombie
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The cover gives you enough of a summary of the book so I won’t share any more spoilers. I read a good many middle grades books, but this one ranks at the top of my list for 2020 so far. Don’t be surprised if it wins some awards.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WOW. Full review to come.
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Ernesto Cisneros is a veteran English teacher currently serving the colorful city of Santa Ana, California. He holds an English degree from the University of California, Irvine; a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach; as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University.

Whenever his knees will allow it, he enjoys playing basketball, running, an

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