The Radius of Us Viral Kindle Stars High school senior Gretchen Asher s life changed forever the night she was attacked She has lived in fear for the past six months One day she has a panic at
The Radius of Us Viral Kindle 3.5 Stars. High school senior Gretchen Asher's life changed forever the night she was attacked. She has lived in fear for the past six months. One day, she has a panic attack after seeing a young man who resembles her attacker. She realizes it couldn't possibly be the same person, so she finds him to apologize. The young man's name is Phoenix (18) and he just recently arrived in the United States. He and his brother Ari (12) fled their home in El Salvador to seek asylum in the United States. Gretchen and Phoenix quickly bond. She doesn't have to pretend with him. He's the first person who asks the questions that matter and really listens to her replies. For Phoenix, it's hard being an outsider in a new country where the people are automatically suspicious of him. Gretchen's attention makes this place feel like a home. Sadly, the pair might not have much time together. Phoenix has little hope of being granted asylum."Don’t let that stuff from your past tell you who you are.”The chapters alternate between Gretchen's and Phoenix's perspectives. At first, I thought this book may be a little too YA for me, but these two characters slowly stole my heart as their background stories were revealed. The thoughtful gestures they made to each other as their friendship developed were so sweet. The story behind the title is a really 'aww'-worthy moment! Gretchen and Phoenix are able to lean on each other, but sometimes it seems that Gretchen is the one that demands the most support. When she realizes the disparity in the relationship, she steps up for Phoenix in a meaningful way. I'm leery of love stories, but it helped that these two characters were interesting as individuals. They had their own issues to deal with outside of falling in love and other interesting relationships besides each other. Their connection solidified because they were are able to empathize with each other in a way that others weren't able to."All of those people—they don’t know what we know."Gretchen has been suffering from PTSD since she was attacked. She can barely leave the house, never knowing what will trigger a panic attack. Well-meaning people try to talk to her about her incident, but they always seem more interested in the attacker's appearance or explaining to her what they would've done. She knows she'll never be the same, but all her friends and family are waiting for her to revert back to her old self. At the same time that Gretchen is trying to get a handle on her PTSD, she is also experiencing typical teen problems. Her boyfriend moved off to college and they're drifting apart. Her best friend Bree acts completely different since getting a boyfriend. One thing I liked about that storyline was that while Gretchen is a little annoyed by the new boyfriend, he ends up being a great friend to her and Phoenix. This isn't the only time that Gretchen's preconceived notions are challenged.“My American Dream’s way more simple than that. I just wanna be able to go for a walk in the woods alone—get on one of those little trails in the forest and walk for hours. That would be so awesome. Or maybe head over to a friend’s place after dinner to watch a football match on TV, and not have to look behind my back every five seconds, not have to worry about whether I’ll make it home alive.”In El Salvador, Phoenix and Ari get forced into a life-or-death situation. Phoenix sees only one way to protect his brother: flee. The four-month journey to the US was long and brutal. After the brothers reached the US border, they were detained and put into separate detention facilities. Phoenix was sent to Atlanta, Georgia, while Ari is in Texas. Phoenix is frustrated that Ari hasn’t spoken one word since they were separated, traumatized by the horrors they witnessed. As an "unaccompanied minor," Ari has a good chance of staying in the United States, but only if he's able to communicate. Phoenix was fortunate enough to be taken in by a local family, but he has little chance of being granted asylum--and even less of a chance if anyone looks deeper into his past. In an unforgiving legal system, Phoenix is unable to put that past behind him. The thought of returning home is terrifying because he will almost certainly be killed. Phoenix's chapters shine a light on the United States immigration system, the conditions in detention centers, and what happens to young people once they reach the border.Gretchen and Phoenix both survived things that no one should have to experience. They support each other as they learn how to overcome feelings of guilt and keep living a full life despite their past trauma. The Radius of Us is more than a story about two young people falling in love. Through the character's unique perspectives, the reader learns (1) about overcoming preconceived notions, (2) what it's like to be a victim of a violent crime, (3) how to be a supportive friend, and (4) why a person might leave the only home they've ever known and what awaits them at the other side. It also gives exposure to another country and culture that many might not be familiar with. On that last note, this book encouraged me to seek out more information on El Salvador. Phoenix's descriptions of pupusas had my mouth watering and I’ve already found a few local Central American/Salvadorean restaurants that I'm going to try! Recommended for young adult readers. Books like these are important for spreading awareness and fostering empathy.___________________Notes: How did the violence in El Salvador get so out of control? Hundreds of thousands of Salvadoreans fled while their country was immersed in a twelve-year civil war, many settling in the United States. In some areas, gangs began to form as a protective mechanism for these new neighborhoods. The US introduced new tougher immigration legislation in 1996 and began deporting large numbers of gang members back to their home countries. Still reeling from the effects of civil war, El Salvador was a fertile ground for violent gangs to thrive. (Sources: How El Salvador Fell Into A Web Of Gang Violence & Who’s to blame for El Salvador’s gang violence?)I received this book for free from Netgalley and St. Martin's Press. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's available now!. 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 eWhat 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.. A viral Book The Radius of Us When Gretchen first sees Phoenix, she thinks she's come face to face with him, the boy who assulted and robbed her six months ago and turned her life upside down. Since the attack, Gretchen notices him everywhere, in every teen boy with dark eyes and caramel skin. Not that she could confide this in anyone. Her friends, family and boyfriend have all been waiting for her to "return to normal." But it's becoming clear to Gretchen she might never her old self ever again. She can no longer handle going to school or socializing or driving. She suffers panic attacks. Her time is now spent babysitting her young cousins and trying to get past what happened to her. But then she meets Phoenix.Phoenix not him. He's an illegal immigrant who fled El Salvador after both he and his younger brother, Ari, were green lit by a local gang. Phoenix regrets a lot of the choices he made in El Salvador but is determined to make things right for Ari. Unfortunately, those choices are likely to be the very thing that gets himself deported. He wants to make sure his brother's case is settled before he's ordered to leave, but Ari is refusing to talk. Time is ticking.Gretchen is drawn to Phoenix inspite of his resemblance to her attacker, or maybe because of it. She needs to prove to herself that she's not afraid, that she can start to move on. She wants to apologize for running away from him like he was radioactive the first time they met. Phoenix can't believe a girl like Gretchen want to be his friend when everyone else around seems so suspicious of him. He likes her right away but knows that she's off limits. She a pretty, white American girl, and he's an ex-gang member soon to be shipped off to South America. It would be impractical for them to fall in love. But when has that ever stopped anyone?This is a sweet, but not cutesy or saccharine, story that I really enjoyed. I thought both Gretchen and Phoenix were great characters with real chemistry together. I like that love does not "cure" their problems. Gretchen and Phoenix help each other, but they are ultimately responsible for their own success. I liked that Gretchen completely misjudged another character throughout the book and actually acknowledged it. I do think some of the serious issues in this book were given a bit of a Pollyanna treatment, but overall I thought this was a great YA romance.I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.