Putnam. Sept. 2020. 320p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984815712.
Gr 7 Up–A stunning work of YA dystopian fiction driven by the ardent voice of a teenage protagonist. The novel captures the United States’ currently ominous immigration policies and extends them to violent extremes, making the stress and fear of living as an undocumented person come alive through the foil of a technocratic surveillance state. Vali, a girl of Colombian descent, lives in small-town Vermont with her mother and brother. The family lost their father to a traumatic immigration incident, and Mom supports them by working on a dairy farm. Vali is undocumented but carries a “fake chip” in her wrist that she uses to scan into her public school and various government buildings. When a newly bolstered federal Deportation Force seizes all the laborers at her mother’s workplace, the family flees towards California, getting separated along the way. The plot points get the blood pumping, and the familial portrait rendered throughout the fast-paced drama is rich in symbolism.
VERDICT This novel is a triumph in its genre and so politically astute that it sears.

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