Nora’s dad has gone to Texas to find work to support the family but promises that he will be back for her 15th birthday quinceanera celebration. It is now three years later and the money has stopped coming and they have not heard from papa for a long time.

Nora leaves her grandmother at home in Mexico and takes her mother to Houston to find Papa. They are smuggled across the border in a very hot, packed mango truck in the hot heat of summer where they ride for hours.

When arriving in Houston they do not know anyone, have no money and no idea how to even start looking for Papa. Facing gangs, violence and filthy living conditions they make friends who are also trying to survive and make their way in a harsh world.

They find out that America may not be the land of opportunity they always heard about as they struggle to survive in a barrio in Houston where racial division runs strong.

With indomitable spirits and the help of their friends they face their answers about papa and try to find their place and happiness in this new harsh world.

Recommended by Joleen Waltman, Librarian, Idaho, USA


Review from De Colores:

“In attempting to describe the difficulties faced by undocumented young people, Restrepo exploits the story with stereotypical shortcuts. Everything that could possibly be wrong is wrong—from faulty Spanish (including Espanglish and code-switching) to inappropriate Black English to thoughtless cultural symbolism to common tropes about Mexican people to statements of misplaced ideological positions in characters’ mouths—it’s all problematic, to say the least.”

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