Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez reveals her experience as the U.S. born daughter of immigrants and what happened when, at fifteen, her parents were forced back to Mexico in this galvanizing yet tender memoir.
Born to Mexican immigrants south of the Rillito River in Tucson, Arizona, Elizabeth had the world at her fingertips. She was preparing to enter her freshman year of high school as the number one student when suddenly, her own country took away the most important right a child has: the right to have a family.
When her parents’ visas expired and they were forced to return to Mexico, Elizabeth was left responsible for her younger brother, as well as her education. Determined to break the cycle of being a “statistic,” she knew that even though her parents couldn’t stay, there was no way she could let go of the opportunities the U.S. could provide. Armed with only her passport and sheer teenage determination, Elizabeth became what her school would eventually describe as an unaccompanied homeless youth, one of thousands of underage victims affected by family separation due to broken immigration laws.
For fans of Educated by Tara Westover and The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande, My Side of the River explores separation, generational trauma, and the toll of the American dream. It’s also, at its core, a love story between a brother and a sister who, no matter the cost, is determined to make the pursuit of her brother’s dreams easier than it was for her.
"Elizabeth Camarillo’s My Side of the River is the book that everyone should read to understand the depth of the strength and achievements of Latinos in the United States. Poignant and tender, hers is an inspiring journey that will most certainly illuminate the path for many others." —Rafael Agustin, author of Illegally Yours
"A brave, honest, heartbreaking, and educational memoir. Elizabeth Gutierrez Camarillo unveils the many realities of being a first generation American whose family continually crosses, and is separated by, borders. My Side of the River is a timely book that uses the power of personal story to invoke societal change. I know many young people and families will find themselves in Elizabeth’s story, and many others will be inspired to action." —Justin Baldoni, star of Jane the Virgin and author of Man Enough
“Open and candid . . . A moving story of the humanity at the center of the often-breathless and uninformed immigration debate." —Kirkus Reviews