"This is not 2010 when twenty girls went missing every month. Juarez is prospering. Tourists are coming back..."
But ever since Sara's best friend, Linda, became one of the "disappeared," Sara has written hundreds of columns about the missing girls who have never come back. Until today. Today her editor is handing her a printout of an email received by her newspaper that says, "If you publish anything of Linda Fuentes we will kill your reporter and her family." Sara is that reporter.
It's been three years since Linda disappeared. Every week since Linda was kidnapped Sara has gone to the State Police station to keep pressure on them and to ask if there have been any new clues about her case. Girls are still disappearing and it's hard to know who you can trust. Some police are themselves in collusion with the cartel. So far nothing has surfaced.
Now Sara is facing this challenge to the power she wields as a journalist.
Across town Sara's brother, Emiliano, is in love with a girl named Perla Rubi. Perla's father is a rich and powerful lawyer and the two teens have to be very guarded about any conversations or time they have together. Emiliano has a small business growing. He takes the homemade pinatas from friends and has them sold to tourists. With his money from the sales he and Sara can help their Mami pay the bills. His friends use the money for medicine and survival.
Just what does the "creep" look like as someone is being brought into the drug culture..not on the using side but on the side of distribution? One favor done...would you take my car down to the dealership and wait while they fix it? I don't really have time to do it..and I'll pay you handsomely to help me out. One ride in a black Mercedes. One conversation in an upstairs office where you have to choose between your conscience, your integrity and getting help for your Mami...maybe even cementing your place in the world of the girl you love.
This is an exquisite walk through the back alleys, the hopes and dreams, the despair and the powerful lure of the drug trade and the danger of the drug cartels. Set in a town two steps from the American border, fifteen year old girls disappear off the bus or walking home from work or school. They just aren't safe...period.
Two steps away from the American border, journalists and families, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers fight for security, a fair living, and a life spent without sacrificing or handing over their treasured values and ethics.
Sara and Emiliano are about to find themselves up against the most powerful danger in their country. Each has to make a decision for her or himself. What path will they take? How fast do they need to run and is there anywhere they can run to?
A fast-paced, intensely personal experience of danger, suspense, and life-changing choices. Sure to inspire some passionate discussions and highly entertaining for readers who want some high octane moments and that finely honed edge of reality blended with fiction.
In my opinion this should be a nominee for a One Country-One Read event.
326 pages 978-0545944472 Ages 12 and up
Keywords: brothers and sisters, Latinx, Latina, Latino, Latino author, diversity, diverse books, illegal immigrants, survival, betrayal, injustice, social justice, family, corruption, 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old, prostitution, journalism, courage
Sequel is : Illegal
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
Four Months Ago
Sara Zapata's best friend disappeared, kidnapped by the web of criminals who terrorize Juarez.
Four Hours Ago
Sara received a death threat - and with it, a clue to the place where her friend is locked away.
Four Weeks Ago
Emiliano Zapata fell in love with Perla Rubi, who will never be his so long as he's poor.
Four Minutes Ago
Emiliano got the chance to make more money than he ever dreamed - just by joining the web.
In the next four days, Sara and Emiliano will each face impossible choices, between life and justice, friends and family, truth and love. But when the web closes in on Sara, only one path remains for the siblings: the way across the desert to the United States.--from the publisher
326 pages 978-0545944472 Ages 12 and up