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Efrén Divided

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,043 ratings  ·  235 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.
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 4.50  · 
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 ·  1,043 ratings  ·  235 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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. ...more
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WOW. Full review to come.
Lindsey Stoddard
This is an important story for all children. My heart was in my throat most of the pages...
Richie Partington
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Richie’s Picks: EFRÉN DIVIDED by Ernesto Cisneros, Harper, March 2020, 272p., ISBN: 978- 0-06-288168-7

“We’ll meet on the the other side
There, across the border”
-- Bruce Springsteen (1995)

“‘But she isn’t coming home, is she?’
Apá rushed to Efrén’s side and knelt by the mattress.
‘Son...look at me. It is just a delay. Nothing more. I swear.’
Efrén squeezed his eyes shut, but no matter how much he tried to stop them, tears managed to seep down his face.
‘It’s okay to cry. I miss her too.’
That was all t
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Efrén squeezed his eyes shut, but no matter how much he tried to stop them, tears managed to seep down his face. “It’s okay to cry. I miss her too.” That was all the permission Efrén needed. He leapt into his father’s arms, tucking his face into his chest.

I am overcome with emotions having read this book. If anyone has lived the fear of not being with a loved one, they know the agonising pain that stems up in the chest, rises up the throat and wells up in the eyes. This story has brought the t
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Middle schooler Efren and his siblings, five year old twins, live with their parents in a studio apartment in California. Efren adores his mother, who is the best cook, and always makes sure her children are well put together even if they don't have many new things. Efren does really well in school, and now is set to help his best friend David--one of the very few white kids at his school--in his bid to be ASB president. But everything goes off the rails when Efren's mother is taken during an IC ...more
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, ya
Family and community are at the heart of this story about Efrén, a young Mexican-American middle schooler whose world is turned upside down by the deportation of his beloved Amá (mother). Hardworking and loving, Efrén’s parents may not be rich in material goods, but it is clear that the impact they have as parents and friends is tremendous. As Efrén’s Apá (father) takes on more work for money to bring Amá back, Efrén must care for his young twin siblings, their home, his academics, and friendshi ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book to build empathy... it vividly shows what deportation does to the day-to-day lives of families and also what it does to their emotional well-being. Efrén is a sweet kid - always the helper (as many older siblings are in Latinx families), a good student, and someone who stands up for what is morally right. I really enjoyed the other characters in this book. Efrén's mom and every talk about her world-class piojitos had my heart breaking. Efrén's dad and his nonstop work ethic (hello, my fat ...more
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this absolutely heartbreaking story. Efren’s family is not well off, but his Ama makes sure that they are fed, presentable clothed, and loved. His Apa works long hours to provide what he can for the family. Efren knows that his parents are in the US illegally, but it becomes very real when his mother is deported by ICE. His father assures him that things will be okay, but he has to pick up a second job, leaving Efren to care for his twin siblings. Add a school election that his ...more
Lexy Avila
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Efren is your typical 12 year old boy who struggles with school work, annoying younger siblings, and helping his best friend win their class election. But his life is suddenly flipped upside down when he comes home from school to an empty house. His mother is not there waiting for him with dinner on the table. Although Efren is an American citizen his parents are both undocumented immigrants, and his worst fear comes true when his mother is deported back to Mexico. Efren must step up and take on ...more
Joyce Yattoni
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Do you want to know what it is like to always be afraid that ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) is coming to take away your parents? This is a story of Efren, a doting big brother and straight A student. He isn’t about to squander his opportunity. He is an American citizen because when his mom was 7 months pregnant she came to the US illegally, so that she and Efren’s dad who would not take a bribe from the drug cartel could live free. Unfortunately, Efren’s mom is picked up by ICE. This w ...more
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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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