The Border

Written by Steve Schafer

The Border is a gripping story that you just can’t put down. Four teenagers in Northern Mexico are chatting and smoking behind a house at a quincenera when they hear “fireworks.” They rush to see what is going on only to find their families have been murdered. They realize the narcos (drug cartel) have committed the crime and now a bounty has been placed on them, dead or alive. The only escape from certain death is to cross the unforgiving desert and enter the U.S. Pato, Marcos, Gladys and Arbo begin the desperate trek through the desert hoping to find “freedom.” What happens during their harsh journey is heart breaking and intense. You feel as though you are there, with the characters, as each situation occurs.

This book opens your eyes to the illegal immigration situation and the desperate measures some will take to try to improve their lives. It also makes you realize that we take for granted some basic wants: freedom, peace and opportunities. It will make you think twice before passing judgment on those immigrants that are seeking a better life in the United States.

Excellent read for young adults and older ones as well.

Review by Pam Jensen, Bacchus Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 10-12

This is a gritty and relevent story of four teens whose families are killed by members of a drug cartel in Northern Mexico. Finding themselves then targets of the same gang, the teens make a desperate journey across the U.S.-Mexico border and the brutally hot Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona, hoping to save their lives and somehow start anew. This fascinating and fast-moving book follows the teens as they literally run for their lives. They deal with extreme heat, dehydration, hunger, injury, immigration officers, and the relentless pursuit of the drug cartel who wants them dead. The story is compelling, fast-moving and exciting as it describes events that are in the news and could have happened yesterday. This is billed as a Young Adult novel for ages 14+ and that is probably a good recommendation, because there is violence and some sexuality in the book. The violence is not overly graphic, however the scene where one of the teens exposes herself feels unnecessary and is just gratutitous sex for its own sake. This is a book I would probably put in a high school library and not in junior high. I read and reviewed this book for the school district where I teach, who provided me a copy for my unbiased review.

Review by Deborah Jones, Language Arts Teacher, West Lake STEM Junior High
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 9-12

The Border
Written by Steve Schafer
Sourcebooks Fire
351 pages
Release Date: September 5, 2017
An advance reader’s copy was provided by the publisher.

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