Saturday, March 23, 2019

Vivir el Dream by Allison K Garcia

About the Book

Book: Vivir el Dream
Author: Allison K Garcia  
Genre: Christian Latino Fiction  
Release Date: May 19, 2017

The fates of an undocumented college student and her mother intertwine with a suicidal businessman’s. As circumstances worsen, will their faith carry them through or will their fears drag them down?
Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.
Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.
After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.
Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?

Click HERE to purchase your copy.

My Review

What an on point and timely read we find in Vivir el Dream. I think it is easy for us all to get caught up in stereotypes without really taking time to get to know a person that actually represents the group that is stereotyped. It seems a natural human phenomenon. Vivir el Dream totally challenged all that in regards to undocumented Christians. The old saying is true that before we think ill of someone, we should walk a mile in their shoes. We meet Linda & Juanita, and a reality that is too easy to ignore for most of us is presented. The way this book really sucked you into the characters and helped you to feel their struggles, their shame, and their fear was so engaging. The plot kept you turning the page. I have a personal connection here with undocumented families, and I can tell you this book is not exaggerating that reality in many cases. There was also a sweet light romance that blossomed within so it was a really well-rounded fiction. Also, a lot of Spanish was used (with definitions footnoted at the bottom) which I enjoyed learning about. I could tell the author really went all out to make this an authentic and well-rounded book. 

In conclusion, while there is a very heated discussion politically about all this right now, one thing I can tell you regardless of where your politics lie on this issue. The Lord calls us to see individuals as special creations of His with a soul that needs Him. When we see all people that way, stereotypes have to take a back seat because we see them the way God does. Vivir el Dream challenges us to realize that and take a walk in shoes that have endured a lot more than we can imagine so that we can care for our brothers and sisters in Christ that come from a different walk of life. Thank you for daring to write in a way that opens our eyes to the reality some of our family in Christ live every day Mrs. Garcia! Also, props for being a pioneer in the Christian Latino fiction genre- this was my first read of this genre!

I received a complimentary copy of this book, and all opinions given are entirely my own. 

About the Author

Allison K. Garcia is a Licensed Professional Counselor, but she has wanted to be a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Shenandoah Valley Writers, Virginia Writers Club, and is Municipal Liaison for Shenandoah Valley NaNoWriMo. Allison’s short story, “At Heart,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of From the Depths literary magazine, along with her flash fiction. Her work, “You Shall Receive,” was published in GrayHaven Comics’s 2014 All Women’s anthology. Winning an honorary mention in the ACFW Virginia 2015 short story contest, “Just Another Navidad” was published in A bit of Christmas. Allison’s book, Vivir el Dream, published May 2017, has won several prestigious awards: 2016 ACFW Genesis Contest Finalist, 2018 Eric J. Hoffer Montaigne Medal Finalist, Honorary Mention in the 2018 Eric. J. Hoffer Awards E-book category, and 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards Finalist in the Christian/Relgious Fiction category. Her highly-anticipated novel, Finding Amor, was released in September 2018. Latina at heart, Allison has been featured in local newspapers for her connections in the Latino community in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A member of cultural competency committees for work and a participant in several pro-immigrant rallies and other events in her region, she also sings on the worship team and enjoys get-togethers with the hermanos in her church. With the help of her husband, Julio, and their son, Miguel, she has been able to nurture her love for the Latino people.

More from Allison K. Garcia

Authenticity and Love

When I wrote my debut novel Vivir el Dream in 2012, I never imagined that it was going to win five awards, that I would be invited to churches and universities and NPR to speak about it, or that it would be taught on a college campus. That’s not why I wrote it. Sure, I hoped that people would read it and love it, but I never imagined the impact it would have and the book’s relevance seven years later.

 There were two main reasons I wrote Vivir el Dream: authenticity and love.

 They go hand-in-hand, but I shall tell you a little about how God sparked the story in my heart. In 2011, we had three church members deported, and one of them was a dear friend—a good man who loves his family, greeted the congregation at the door, helped take the collection every Sunday and set up the tables and chairs for special programs. To see our friend, and hermano en Cristo, treated in a way that traumatized his children and nearly tore apart up his family, was something that broke my heart. But what broke it worse was seeing how the media spoke about undocumented people and sadder yet, having conversations with other Christians who spoke anger and hatred towards “illegals.” God spoke to my heart about this.

How could my brothers and sisters in Christ be so unkind and uncaring? Hadn’t they read The Good Samaritan? Didn’t they remember about loving our neighbors? It happened again and again, and I realized, with God’s help, that one of the challenges was that people didn’t understand the real story. They were fed a certain stereotype by the media, an image of a tattooed person in a gang or a drug dealer. They hadn’t actually met anyone undocumented. Or at least they hadn’t realized they had. In my life and in my job as a counselor, I had met tons of undocumented immigrants, and I had known them the great majority to be kind, hard-working people who wanted the best for their family and were willing to risk it all for the chance at the American dream. I saw love, I saw bravery, I saw strength, I saw faith. And I believe that God showed me those things so that I could reflect that in my novels. A wonderful thing happens when we’re reading a book. We jump into the shoes of the main character. We understand their plight. Their hopes are our hopes. We feel their story, their dreams, their love, their anguish, their joy. That is one of the great things about reading. We escape our own lives for a while and experience a new adventure, gain a new understanding. We go places and meet people and do things we would never be able to in our own lives. So that is what God placed on my heart to share with the world: an authentic experience of a mother and daughter who are undocumented Christians.

 It’s controversial, but then so was the Gospel. What is more controversial than Jesus’ teachings? To love those who hate us. To turn the other cheek. To give away all possessions to join Him. I mean, what is more controversial than being asked to believe that a man born over 2,000 years was the Son of God and was risen from the dead after three days and that giving one’s heart over to Him will save one’s soul so as to live for all of eternity with God in Heaven? And yet, that is the very heart of the Gospel. To love God and to love others. So, in the spirit of loving God and listening to Him, I wrote Vivir el Dream and published it even when the world pushed against it and continues to do so, perhaps more now than in 2012. All the more reason to love our neighbor more and to hold tighter onto God and His teachings. I hope you enjoy my book. I hope it takes you on a new, heartwrenching adventure that carries you from the anguish in crossing a desert with your three-year-old daughter on your hip to the freedom in cooking tamales in the kitchen while swaying to cumbia, from the stabbing fear of living in a country that doesn’t want you to experiencing the joy of first love, and from the desperation of staring down an empty barrel to the understanding of truth for your fellow man. God bless. And happy reading.

Blog Stops


To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a gift basket that includes 4 Christian novels, secret recipes for some of the Mexican cuisine described in Vivir el Dream, and authentic arts and crafts from Guadalajara, Mexico or by preference, a $40 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. My mom has gone through a lot of trouble to legally stay in this country. The rules are difficult to follow, but it can be done the right way.

    1. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your sharing your mom's experience. This book can be controversial on immigration topics, but I felt it really helped to understand how people in those shoes feel regardless if we agree with their decisions or not. Blessings!

  2. I really enjoyed reading the review! This book sounds like a very interesting read! Looking forward to checking it out!

  3. Thank you so much for your review! It brought tears to my eyes!!!

    1. Thank you for writing this book. It is so needed and it was excellent. It brought tears to my eyes!