“A fiery love story weaves in and out of the narrative, never fully taking over, but propelling the story and inspiring the series of illegal border crossings that anchor the book. The love described throughout is as intense as the pain it causes…Illegal is about recognizing privilege, questioning barriers, embracing the unknown and loving until your soul cracks wide open.”

The Overgrown (full review)


“Illegal is both the story of an individual navigating his way through love, and the story of the human condition when faced with barriers—both the physical and emotional. The physical barriers that are used to segregate people, are also the ones that tear them apart on the inside.”

The Norwich Radical (full review)



What other authors are saying:

“In Illegal John Dennehy admirably wrestles with some of the most pressing matters of our current age: What is the character of the United States? What happens to an idealistic young American abroad? Borders, national identity, justice.And then love, cutting through it all. How do two young lovers hold on to each other in the maelstrom of national politics and the swings of history? As Dennehy throws himself into the political and social life of Ecuador, you will see some of yourself in him.”
–Cullen Thomas, author of Brother One Cell


“John Dennehy’s memoir of love, life and illegally crossing borders in beautiful, but tumultuous Ecuador is told with vulnerability, honesty and is absolutely riveting. Illegal made me feel like I was hidden in the pages of Dennehy’s passport—unsure what was going to happen next, longing for a life that may have disappeared, and never wanting the adventure to end.”

–Katie McKenna, author of How to Get Run Over by a Truck


“It reads almost like fiction, but it isn’t. Dennehy’s memoir is an eye-opener to what most of us pay no attention to. It’s gripping, intense, and real.”

–Jenya Grace, author of The Battle for Oz


“Powerful and relateable. The pages resonated with me in a way I can’t quite quantify. Beautiful to see someone put themselves out there like this.”

–Zac Thompson, author or Weaponized



Top Amazon reviews:

“In Illegal, journalist John Dennehy takes readers on a guided tour of the precarious border crossings he took shortly after the reelection of George W. Bush. One such crossing ended with his deportation back to the United States from Ecuador. And yet he was driven to sneak back into that country by a blinding love, and a life that often seemed–and would often prove–too good to be entirely true...Dennehy uses his own story as a lens through which to address issues much larger than himself…In a very self-aware, earnest way, he asks big questions. Is it possible to maintain your most deeply held beliefs and goals in the face of bruising reality? If goods are allowed to cross borders freely, why can’t people (with the minimum amount of necessary security in place)? Are people who they are or are they who we perceive them to be and who they present themselves as? At the outset of Illegal, Dennehy is a recent college graduate with a robust set of ideals. As the story progresses he doesn’t lose them but they are tempered. One gets the sense that were the story to begin with an older, more mature Dennehy, he might have been able to get close to anticipating the very mess his country is in now.”  –read all the Amazon reviews


“This is an amazing book! A must read. If you are a traveler, historian, fan of memoirs, need to escape, want to question or are socially aware, this book needs to be in your hands. This is a story which takes place a decade ago but is more relevant in 2017. It offers a fresh perspective on borders, what they are and how these artificial lines can control a persons fate, ability to succeed in life and love. John Dennehy is able to tap into the pureness and vulnerability delivered by Jack Kerouac , the insight and challenge which William Burrroughs offered and the insanity and mischievousness of Hunter S. Thompson. However, these comparisons are only for those readers who need comparisons. You will find within 30 pages that John Dennehy stands on his own pedestal alongside them. This book transports you, makes you wonder, makes you cry, breaks your heart, gives you hope and ultimately makes you dream of what could be.” –read all the Amazon reviews


“A powerful first hand account of love and separation, this book had tears streaming down my cheeks by page 16. Its engrossing story and steady pace kept me, a slow reader who rarely finishes a book, hooked from start to finish. A rare glimpse into a painful reality gives the reader a personal connection to a geopolitical discussion that desperately needs more attention.” read all the Amazon reviews