Giff (Winter Sky) offers an incisive look at the struggles of undocumented workers and the power of family and friends. Mateo, a 12-year-old Mexican boy, is distressed to learn that his older brother, Julian, has disappeared after a border patrol squad raided the Arkansas construction site where he was working illegally. Knowing that their family depends on the money Julian sends home and fearing for his brother’s safety, Mateo makes a risky decision: “I have to find him, save him, the way he saved me once.” In notebook entries that appear sporadically between chapters, Mateo reveals that Julian once rescued him from drowning and shares other memories that underscore the bond between them. On his perilous trek northward, Mateo meets Angel, a runaway girl who helps him cross into the U.S., and a tender, nurturing friendship develops. The characters’ dreams (Mateo aspires to be a writer, Angel is determined to return to school, Julian longs to become a professional artist) bring added depth to each of them, while highlighting the hope and determination that drive them forward. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015 Release date: 09/08/2015 Genre: Children's
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