I was deep into nonfiction Cybils nominees when this book was published last October and I totally missed it. The plight of those who live South of our country is one that more children and adults in the United States should take the time to read about. In many countries, conditions are so bad that you’ll die if you stay so why not try and get to the United States. This is a middle-grade novel, but I read it with a parent at that age or wait and hand it over as a YA book in high school. As an adult reader, I found several sections nerve wracking.
Jaime makes the journey from Guatemala to El Norte (the United States) with only his 15-year-old cousin Angela, in a desperate attempt to escape the Alphas, the gang that murdered his cousin/best friend, and Angela’s brother, Miguel. They are sent alone with their money sewn into their jeans as an alternative to joining the Alphas.
This isn’t an easy read by any means and although much of terror is inferred it still exists and the kids are both hungry and scared for much of the book. The author has said that it is based on real events and therefore in my mind, it should be read and discussed.
Hardcover – October 4, 2016