FICTION

The Crossroads

336p. S. & S. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534414556.
COPY ISBN
Gr 6–9—This sequel to The Only Road sees the internal border crossings of Jaime and his cousin Ángela as they start new schools and begin to recover from their arduous journey to the U.S. An isolated ranch where Jaime's older brother works is the setting for the teens' emotional roller coaster of guilt, loneliness, loss, and fear. Tensions peak when Jaime learns that the gang they fled retaliated by attacking their beloved Abuela, who eventually dies, and when the grandfatherly ranch manager, Don Vincente, is detained after 60 years in the U.S. Jaime succumbs to the pressure and punches a school bully, which does little to lessen his grief, the constant dread of being deported, and the embarrassment of being the new English-language learner bound by strict no-Spanish rules. As Jaime continues to draw in order to document and remember his past, he discovers this work is also helpful in building new friendships and providing evidence for Don Vincente's deportation hearing. Jaime's first-person perspective gives fairly didactic explanations for those unaware of the various struggles immigrants endure and will resonant with those living that experience. An author's note regarding references to Navajo people and beliefs would be a welcome addition to future publications of this text.
VERDICT Fans of The Only Road will appreciate following Jaime and Ángela on the next phase of their lives, while teachers and librarians may find the text useful to counter unsubstantiated myths about Central Americans fleeing to the U.S.

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