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School Library Journal
This sequel to I Am a Taxi (Groundwood, 2006) opens with Diego, about 12 years old, living in the hinterlands of Bolivia, where he has been taken in by the kindly Ricardo family. They, like his unjustly imprisoned parents, are cocaleros, poor farmers whose cash crop is coca. He makes himself as useful as possible, and only Bonita Ricardo, who is about his age, resents him and wishes him gone. Soon, soldiers arrive and destroy their crop. Their dreams for a better future dashed, the Ricardos find themselves taking part in a nationwide protest. Joining their neighbors to block the only road through the area, Diego and the Ricardos work together to maintain solidarity and deal with rising tensions as the army threatens increasing force to reopen the road. Three climactic events follow as Diego waves a white flag to get help for an injured friend, then he and Bonita rush to stop an ill-advised attack on the soldiers. In the final pages, Diego exacts a measure of revenge on the men who had, among other things, killed his friend Mando, as explained in a two-page "The story so far . . . " that brings readers up to speed on events from the first book. An easy read that touches on issues seldom addressed for young teens such as third-world subsistence farming, Spanish/Indian cultural conflict, and the U.S. culpability in driving the international drug trade, this novel might work particularly well where differentiated (lower-reading level) texts on such subjects are needed.
—Joel ShoemakerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.