Graphic Novel Review: Unearthed

Unearthed by Lilliam Rivera

Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story
by Lilliam Rivera (Goodreads Author), Steph C. (Illustrator)
1 out of 5 stars- HATED IT

Jessica Cruz is terrified that her family will be deported, because they are illegal immigrants in the United States. She doesn’t think her friends will understand, and is afraid to tell them that her family is undocumented. When she visits the history museum, she begins to have visions of the ancient Aztec gods who guide her in controlling her fear.

I am so angry at this book! This is some of the worst representation of Hispanics that I have ever seen. I grew up in Mexico as a child, and I am a United States citizen. Many of my friends are legal or illegal immigrants. I have an intimate knowledge of these issues and the people who deal with them. I am appalled at the horrible way the Hispanic culture is represented in this book.

It’s like the author created their own version of what they WANT you to think about illegal Hispanic immigrants, instead of the actual reality of the issue. There is a very strong political bias in this book that distorts the facts and presents a picture of immigration that does not match the reality in the US today.
Of course, this is a fictional world, but this book is obviously trying to address real life issues and shape the reader’s understanding and opinion of real life politics.

This is propaganda, pure and simple.

I was appalled to see that Jessica is violent and ignorant. She’s supposed to be the hero of the story, but she encourages others to violence as well. She doesn’t take the time to find out about what is really happening with immigration, but instead lives in ignorant fear, assuming the worst.

At one point, Jessica confronts an ICE agent. The ICE agent is depicted in the art with blank eyes and a permanent scowl, as if this officer is the devil himself. The art and the story depict all ICE agents as evil and soulless, utterly without compassion or integrity. It’s sickening to see the way an entire group of people are demonized for simply upholding the law.

As if that wasn’t enough, then Jessica actually ASSAULTS the ICE officer! I can’t believe I just saw a “hero” assaulting an officer of the law. What kind of sick story is this?

Is this a villain origin story? Because the hero of this story just became a villain.
Jessica becomes a criminal in that moment, a menace to society. And she encourages her friends to do the same. Is this the kind of message that is being sent out to young people? That as long as you don’t agree with the laws, you can attack those who enforce them? That is so wrong!

Later on, Jessica and her friends organize a peaceful protest. That is the kind of good message that actually brings change. That is how laws get changed. But assaulting officers who are just trying to uphold the law never did any good in this world.

I don’t understand what kind of foolish book this is. It makes me sick.

The story is very obviously encouraging the reader to act in violence, and it makes me afraid that young readers will take these violent messages to heart. I worry that our society will be worse off for the way this issue has been so badly handled in the media, and for the way the facts have been distorted. I worry that this type of political propaganda with no basis in reality is hurting my Hispanic friends instead of helping them.

I am throwing this book in the trash, because that is what it is.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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