Publishers Weekly Review
Given the uncertain fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which attempts to help protect undocumented young people from deportation, Saedi's memoir about being an all-American teenager, bicultural child of Iranian immigrants, and unwitting "illegal alien" could hardly be timelier. Saedi (Never Ever) doesn't pull any punches about the extra-legal role the U.S. played in toppling one Iranian leader and supporting another, or about the governmental snafus that kept her, her sister, and their parents without legal standing for so long. She documents her generally happy California life, with typical teen issues (unrequited love, bad skin) sharing space with the fear of deportation. Saedi explains Persian culture and debunks some stereotypes in FAQ sections, but also overworks irreverent language (the Iran-Contra scandal is described as the "vanilla ice cream on the poop pie"). Although she provides a candid, firsthand perspective on people who are cultural insiders but legal outsiders, it can feel as though an essay's worth of material has been extended to book length by diary entries and discussions of pop culture. Ages 14-up. Agent: Jess Regel, Foundry Literary + Media. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Readers will laugh, cry, and empathize with Saedi's adolescent journey as an undocumented Iranian immigrant living in the United States. Her memoir recounts the discovery of her undcoumented status as a teen and the naturalization process in her early adulthood. Saedi paints a clear picture of the financial hurdles her family faced as they rebuilt a life in a new country, the legal implications of not having a Social Security number, and the sharp contrast between her mother's teenage years and her own. Readers will laugh at the author's honest portrayals of awkward high school experiences and understand the anxiety that comes with the constant fear of deportation. The memoir tackles complex topics of immigration, sex, alcohol, cultural stereotypes, and what it means to navigate life between two cultures. Filled with pop culture references, journal excerpts, photographs, and relatable coming-of-age content, this book will keep readers fully entertained while pushing them to deeper cultural understandings. VERDICT A must-purchase for memoir collections.-Monica Cabarcas, Albemarle High School, Charlottesville, VA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Imagine finding out when you're almost 13 that you're an undocumented immigrant and can be deported from the U.S. at any time. This is just one of the secrets that Saedi, now 37, reveals in this often funny and deeply moving memoir based on entries from her teenage diary. Born in 1980 in Iran during the Iranian Revolution, Sara fled to the U.S. with her family when she was two. She humorously relates stories of angst over her high-school crush, confusion over her birth date, idolization of her perfect older sister, annoyance at being the surrogate mother of her younger U.S.-born brother, zit and skin-shaming issues, hatred of her large Iranian nose, embarrassment over her unibrow, obsession with acting, experimentation with smoking and alcohol, prom date dilemmas, and incidents from her parents' and grandparents' difficult lives. Black-and-white photos are interspersed with intriguing chapter titles (Sporting the Frida Kahlo, I Am the Product of Incest), while, at the same time, the narrative offers a brief look at the history of Iran (pronounced E-ron, she emphasizes, not I-ran, as many Americans say). Her encouraging advice for undocumented immigrants is invaluable, honest, and heartfelt. This irresistible and timely memoir is hard to put down.--Rawlins, Sharon Copyright 2017 Booklist