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Invite an Author

Every month, we highlight an author in an initiative called "BCCLS Invite an Author". Many of these authors are happy to visit BCCLS libraries to chat with your book clubs or present programs either in person or via Skype. You can email them directly for more information or to schedule a library visit.

Previous Authors

March 2014

Selene Castrovilla

Photo © Andreanna Zarya.


   Maria Andreu


Web Site:


Letter of Introduction:

Dear Colleagues:

I am genuinely delighted to be presenting this month’s BCCLS Invite an Author.

She is a BCCLS resident, living in Leonia, and has a new YA novel debuting on March 11. What timing!

It is with great pleasure that I present Maria Andreu as BCCLS Invite an Author for March 2014.

MARIA E. ANDREU is a writer and speaker whose work has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post,, and the Newark Star Ledger. THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY is her debut novel. She was born in Spain, lived in Argentina for two years, and crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. at the age of eight. An American citizen due to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Maria currently lives in New Jersey. You can visit her online at

Her debut YA novel, THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY, is a Junior Literary Guild selection and will speak to lots of readers on many levels.

"What's it like to be undocumented? High school senior M.T. knows all too well. With graduation and an uncertain future looming, she must figure out how to grow up in the only country she's ever called home... a country in which she's 'illegal.'

M.T. was born in Argentina and brought to America as a baby without any official papers. And as questions of college, work, and the future arise, M.T. will have to decide what exactly she wants for herself, knowing someone she loves will unavoidably pay the price for it. On the way, M.T. must navigate first love, letting go of her childhood friends as they begin a life she can't share, a difficult relationship with a father who grew up a world away and a mother struggling to find her way in America. What is it like when the only country you've ever known says you don't belong? The Secret Side of Empty offers an intimate, often surprising glimpse into a story you often hear on the news but have never heard told this way before.

Author Maria E. Andreu draws from her personal experience as a former undocumented immigrant to explore issues of belonging, keeping secrets and what it's like to be undocumented. More than that, The Secret Side of Empty is a story that will touch anyone who has ever felt excluded or unsure about the future or has kept a secret she felt was too big too share. "

Junior Library Guild

"Andreu has crafted an empathetic yet gritty narrative; readers will ache for M.T. as they are let into her secret life. A timely and powerful portrait of the American dream deferred. "

Kirkus Reviews

"...eye-opening and wrenching. "

Publishers Weekly

I have some copies to share with you to add to your collections. As always, first come, first served.

I think you can all see the promise that this novel holds and the wonderful opportunity we have with Ms. Andreu living right in our backyard to have her visit lots of BCCLS libraries. Please contact her directly at: to arrange a visit. No charge for visits to our BCCLS libraries but Ms. Andreu does ask to sell copies of her book at library events. She is also happy to Skype with your book groups.

Maria Andreu is a rising star - a novel with great subject matter, excellent reviews, and she’s all ours. Go snag her for a visit.

Warmest regards,