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Children's LiteratureMiguel has been waiting forever for his father to tell him it is time to leave San Jacinto, Mexico, to join his parents in Mexico. On his fifteenth birthday, instead of the expected presents, he receives word from his father that his time has come. He thinks he's leaving his grandmother and sister Elena behind, but Elena is as determined to cross "la linea" and go north as Miguel is. Right from the start, his journey does not progress the way Miguel thought it would. He and Elena are faced with repeated decisions about whether or not they can trust the people they meet along the way. To have any chance of getting to California, they must jump onto a moving train, survive the streets of small towns along the way, negotiate for their survival, face robbery and physical violence, and nearly die in their trek across the desert. Will their determination be enough to overcome the corruption and dangers that separate them from "la linea" and the promise of a better life? Their desperate journey is portrayed in vivid and realistic text. In final notes, Jaramillo explains to readers that although the story is fiction, it is based on actual events.Cultural references and Spanish words and phrases are woven gracefully into the text to give readers a genuine flavor of the cultural journey. 2006, Roaring Brook Press/Holtzbrinck Publishing, Ages 10 to 15.
—Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger