September 19, 2013

The Secret Side of Empty Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway by Maria Andreu

THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY will be available March 11, 2014 and can be preordered now. 

Maria’s writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post and the Star Ledger.  Her debut novel, THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY, is the story of an “illegal” high school senior.  It was inspired by Maria’s own experiences as an undocumented teen.  Since becoming a citizen, Maria has run her own business and has become a soccer mom. She lives with her 13-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son in northern New Jersey.

ABOUT The Secret Side of Empty

It's the story of a teen girl that is American in every way except for in one very important way: on paper. She was brought to the U.S. as a baby without proper documentation, so she's "illegal." As the end of the safe haven of her high school days draw near, she faces an uncertain future. Full of humor and frustration and love, THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY speaks to the part in all of us that has felt excluded or has had a secret too scary to share. What M.T., the main character, finally discovers is the strength of the human spirit and the power that's unleashed when you finally live the truth.

After the guest post are details on the HUGE giveaway.


Ten Things I Learned While Writing A YA Novel About an Illegal Immigrant

1. I hate the word “illegal.” I far prefer “undocumented. I mean, can a human being be illegal?

2. A lot of people think that, yes, a human being can be illegal. When my book was sold, I was profiled in the New York Daily News. I shared my own story about being brought over the U.S. as a baby and overstaying my visitor’s visa (unbeknownst to me, of course. I was too busy discovering my fingers). Someone posted a comment suggesting I should be subject to the Son of Sam law, the law that prevents people from profiting from their “crimes.” You know, like the guy who killed 6 people.

3. Most people are really nice.

4. When writing a book about an “issue” like immigration, you’ve got to forget about the issue and just write a story that is fun to read and makes people feel things.

5. Telling a big secret about yourself (like the fact that you were once undocumented) is terrifying.

6. Telling a big secret about yourself is incredibly freeing.

7. M.T., the main character of my book, is a girl in the same predicament I was, but is entirely different than I was. She’s got better calves (she bikes everywhere) and better business sense. Also, she’s braver than I am because she gets the courage to share who she really is way sooner than I did.

8. Writing a love story is fun.

9. Getting an agent is an excruciating process but its glorious when it finally happens.

10. Sometimes when the “worst” happens it’s the best. I had my heart set on another title for the book for all the years I was pitching it and writing it, only to have it get taken by another book in my genre toward the tail end of my journey. I was heart-broken. Then I came up with the title: The Secret Side of Empty and I fell in love instantly. Now I couldn’t imagine it being called anything else.  


Maria is giving away two separate prizes on her tour, a $250 Amazon Gift Card AND a Kindle Fire.

1)      For a chance to win the $250 Amazon gift card, OR the Kindle Fire leave a comment on her blog post for that day. Winners will be randomly selected on September 30th.

In other words, all you have to do is comment below!  (Please leave a way for Maria to contact you in case you're one of the two lucky winners.)


  1. I have yet to read a novel with this plot line (immigration/illegals) and I am very intrigued! This book sounds like a very good novel for today's teenagers. I would love to read this!! Thanks for visiting! :)

  2. This sounds like a fantastic novel, and I love the different premise. I haven't read anything about undocumented teens. It must be scary to share something so personal about your own life...especially because some people are very rude and uncaring.

    lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

  3. Maria, sounds like you have a great sense of humor and have your head on right; not caring what others think and doing what is right for you. good job!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

  4. Isn't it great to know that the human spirit is indomitable in times that matter? Congratulations on THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY, Maria!

    1. squinklebooks [@] gmail [dot] com


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