Border Crossing

Border Crossing

4.0 3
by Jessica Lee Anderson
     
 

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The mixed-race son of apple pickers, Manz lives with his hard-drinking mother and her truck-driver boyfriend in the hardscrabble world of dusty Rockhill, Texas. Forced to take a summer job rebuilding fence of a cattle ranch, Manz works alongside his friend Jed and meets a girl named Vanessa — but even among his friends, Manz suffers from an uncontrollable… See more details below

Overview


The mixed-race son of apple pickers, Manz lives with his hard-drinking mother and her truck-driver boyfriend in the hardscrabble world of dusty Rockhill, Texas. Forced to take a summer job rebuilding fence of a cattle ranch, Manz works alongside his friend Jed and meets a girl named Vanessa — but even among his friends, Manz suffers from an uncontrollable paranoia. As the summer wears on, Manz becomes convinced that "Operation Wetback," a brutal postwar relocation program, is being put back into effect. As the voices in his head grow louder and more insistent, Manz struggles to negotiate the difficulties of adolescence, the perils of an oppressed environment, and the terror of losing his grip on reality.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—When Manz and his friend Jed get a job on a cattle ranch mending fences, they always see illegal immigrants from Mexico line up for scant day jobs in Rockhill, TX. The teen begins to worry that "the Man" will discover that he is half-Mexican and deport him. He has a near-constant humming in his ear, which is sometimes so loud that he can't hear anything else. He meets Vanessa Ortiz and attends her family barbecue, where Mr. Ortiz describes "Operation Wetback," a cruel repatriation of illegal immigrants deep in the jungles of Mexico after World War II. Soon, Manz becomes convinced that the authorities are out to get him. Also, it's becoming more difficult for him to ignore his mother's drinking. She recognizes the signs of mental illness in him—his father, Loco, exhibited many of the same behaviors before his fatal car wreck—and she urges her son to get help. He refuses, as he is increasingly convinced his mother is part of the government's plot to deport him. Manz manages to connect with Jed's younger sister, who is supportive, even in the face of her unpredictable father's rage. Short chapters and clear descriptions of Manz's hallucinatory experiences provide a harrowing but sympathetic glimpse into his struggles to combat his deteriorating condition. The first-person narrative gives readers a poignant close-up of the teen's gradual loss of control to paranoid schizophrenia. Anderson's vivid portrayal of this frightening illness nevertheless offers hope for the valiant human spirit.—Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
Kirkus Reviews
The poignant story of Manz, a 15-year-old boy trying to cope with a dysfunctional relationship with his alcoholic mother and the humming noises, whispering voices and scary visions that only he perceives. Through the teenager's first-person narration, Anderson traces the isolated landscape of Rockhill, a very small town in Texas, and reveals the distressing stories behind the apparent simplicity of its inhabitants' lives. Manz is the son of an undocumented Mexican "Loco" who died in a car accident and a white girl, Delores, who in defiance of her parents gave birth to him at the age of 16. Disillusionment, domestic violence, informants, Border Patrol agents and unsolved crimes are the pieces that form the puzzle of his Anglo community. A strong sense of family, a mystic love for the land and the fear of deportation are the sentiments that he reads in the mysterious people of triangular eyes and dark skin, the Mexican Americans. A sad and thought-provoking exploration of mental illness. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571316912
Publisher:
Milkweed Editions
Publication date:
10/27/2009
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
940,110
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

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