A poignant novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by current events.
Pulga has his dreams. Chico has his grief. Pequeña has her pride.
And these three teens have one another. But none of them have illusions about the town they’ve grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Even with the love of family, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the trio knows they have no choice but to run: from their country, from their families, from their beloved home.
Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico, they follow the route of La Bestia, the perilous train system that might deliver them to a better life–if they are lucky enough to survive the journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and desperation drumming through their hearts, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know there is no turning back, despite the unknown that awaits them. And the darkness that seems to follow wherever they go.
In this striking portrait of lives torn apart, the plight of migrants at the U.S. southern border is brought to light through poignant, vivid storytelling. An epic journey of danger, resilience, heartache, and hope.
* “A candid, realistic story that will leave readers thinking about the characters–and about our own world–long after the last page.” —SLJ, STARRED REVIEW
* “Gripping, poignant…this soul-shaking narrative [recalls] the works of Gabriel García Márquez.” —Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
* “A devastating read that is difficult to put down, this unforgettable book unflinchingly illuminates the experiences of those leaving their homes to seek safety in the United States.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
“The short chapters, candid writing, and strong character development should appeal to even the most reluctant of readers as suspense about whether the characters will survive the journey builds in one heart-rending scene after another.” —Horn Book
Philomel (2020) Paperback 368 pp. ISBN 9781984812261