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THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US: A MEMOIR                                               
Trade paperback from Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.  2012

Reyna Grande’s personal, heart-wrenching, and ultimately triumphant memoir about her journey from Mexico to the United States, where she learned that the separation between a parent and child can be measured as much in emotional distance and abandonment as it can be in miles. An award-winning novelist with a talent for infusing her narrative with personal and affecting characterizations and stories, Grande truly offers an unprecedented look into the immigration experience and the reality that millions of people are facing each day.

When Reyna Grande’s father leaves his wife and three children behind in a village in Mexico to make the dangerous trek across the border to the United States, he promises he will soon return from “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side) with enough money to build them a dream house where they can all live together. His promises become harder to believe as months turn into years. When he summons his wife to join him, Reyna and her siblings are deposited in the already overburdened household of their stern, unsmiling grandmother. The three siblings are forced to look out for themselves; in childish games they find a way to forget the pain of abandonment and learn to solve very adult problems. When their mother at last returns, the reunion sets the stage for a dramatic new chapter in Reyna’s young life: her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father. In this extraordinary memoir, award-winning writer Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years, capturing all the confusion and contradictions of childhood, especially one spent torn between two parents and two countries. Elated when she feels the glow of her father’s love and approval, Reyna knows that at any moment he might turn angry or violent. Only in books and music and her rich imaginary life does she find solace, a momentary refuge from a world in which every place feels like “El Otro Lado.” The Distance Between Us: A Memoir captures one girl’s passage from childhood to adolescence and beyond. A funny, heartbreaking, lyrical story, it reminds us that the joys and sorrows of childhood are always with us, invisible to the eye but imprinted on the heart, forever calling out to us of those places we first called home. 

At a time when immigration politics are at a boiling point in America, Reyna Grande is an important public voice for Mexican Americans and immigrants of every origin. The Distance Between Us: A Memoir has the power to change minds and hearts.

Downloadable Excerpts from The Distance Between Us: A Memoir by Reyna Grande (pages 3-29). Copyright 2012 by Reyna Grande. Reprinted with permission from Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Audio Excerpts     


“Reyna Grande is a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer with an important story to tell.”
Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

“I’ve been waiting for this book for decades. The American story of the new millennium is the story of the Latino immigrant, yet how often has the story been told by the immigrant herself? What makes Grande’s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that, through this hero’s journey, she speaks for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard.”
Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

"Reyna Grande's extraordinary journey towards the American dream will be an inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamed of a better life.
Ligiah Villalobos, writer and executive producer of La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon)

“In this poignant memoir about her childhood in Mexico, Reyna Grande skillfully depicts another side of the immigrant experience—the hardships and heartbreaks of the children who are left behind. Through her brutally honest firsthand account of growing up in Mexico without her parents, Grande sheds light on the often overlooked consequence of immigration—the disintegration of a family.”
Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of Enrique's Journey


  • National Book Critics Circle Awards Autobiography/Memoir Finalist 2012
  • Grand Valley State University "Common Reading" Selection 2013
  • Las Comadres Para Las Americas Book Club Selection Nov/2012
  • One of the Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2012 (School Library Journal)
  • One the 15 Best Books of 2012 (The Christian Science Monitor)


 Trade paperback covers (English and Spanish editions)

Los Angeles Times  
“A brutally honest book….the “Angela’s Ashes” of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.”
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From Publisher’s Weekly
“Grande captivates and inspires….”
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From The Christian Science Monitor
“The entire story is a case study in immigration policy, North American trade, public school education, and the promise and pitfalls of a capitalist economy…provides a cast of vivid characters who remind readers that even the driest legislation matters….”
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From the California Report
"…makes palpable a human dilemma and dares us to dismiss it.”
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From Slate Magazine
“Grande is the kind of unsparing witness whose voice we don’t hear enough.”
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From NBC Latino
“For Grande, who is a staunch advocate of the DREAM Act, the publication of her memoir is an opportunity to offer inspiration to the current generation of young immigrants who have dreams as lofty as she did as a teenager….”
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From Los Angeles Review of Books   
“A deeply personal coming-of-age story that extols the power of self-reliance and the love of books.” Read More

From Washington Independent Review of Books
“Eloquent, honest storytelling. This book would be fabulous required reading for college freshmen or, even better, for freshman members of Congress….”
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From Kirkus Reviews
“In her first nonfiction book, novelist Grande (Dancing with Butterflies, 2009, etc.) delves into her family's cycle of separation and reunification. Raised in poverty so severe that spaghetti reminded her of the tapeworms endemic to children in her Mexican hometown, the author is her family's only college graduate and writer, whose honors include an American Book Award and International Latino Book Award.... She consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence.... A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.”

From Booklist
“The poignant yet triumphant tale Grande tells of her childhood and eventual illegal immigration puts a face on issues that stir vehement debate.”

From Latina Style
Has the power to change minds and hearts."

From Texas Observer
 “Many of us find it difficult to practice diplomacy with our relatives. But when typical family squabbles are complicated by national borders - as they are in Reyna Grande’s excellent new memoir - the stakes are raised far higher than ‘Who’s cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year?’”

From School Library Journal
“Grande never flinches in describing her surroundings and feelings, while her resilience and ability to empathize allow her to look back with a compassion that makes this story one that everyone should read.”

From The Hispanic Reader
“Told in simple, easy to read - yet descriptive - prose…. An inspirational book for young Latinos or anyone who has faced adversity. Just keep those tissues handy.”

From La Bloga
“Shows off Grande’s exceptional writing skill…. The writer’s economy of detail enriches the reading…. anyone who reads The Distance Between Us will find the distance between their insularity and the humanity of immigrants is the two inches occupied in the memoir’s 322 pages.”

From Alegria Magazine    
“Personal, heart-wrenching, and ultimately triumphant…. An engaging writer with a talent for infusing her narrative with personal and affecting characterizations and stories, Grande truly offers an unprecedented look into the immigration experience…. The Distance Between Us has the power to

From San Antonio Express News
“Powerful, harrowing.”

From Bookpage  
“An important piece of America’s immigrant history.”

Simon & Shuster Customer Reviews
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