“With every chapter, readers will be further immersed in Santiago’s story as they root for his triumph over injustice.” —Booklist (starred review)
“With unflinching conviction, Diaz sketches a frank, brief account of refugee youth in an uncaring bureaucratic system.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Harrowing but deeply illuminating.” —School Library Journal
A young boy gets detained by ICE while crossing the border from Mexico to the United States in this timely and unflinching novel by award-winning author Alexandra Diaz.
The bed creaks under Santiago’s shivering body. They say a person’s life flashes by before dying. But it’s not his whole life. Just the events that led to this. The important ones, and the ones Santiago would rather forget.
The coins in Santiago’s hand are meant for the bus fare back to his abusive abuela’s house. Except he refuses to return; he won’t be missed. His future is uncertain until he meets the kind, maternal María Dolores and her young daughter, Alegría, who help Santiago decide what comes next: He will accompany them to el otro lado, the United States of America. They embark with little, just backpacks with water and a bit of food. To travel together will require trust from all parties, and Santiago is used to going it alone. None of the three travelers realizes that the journey through Mexico to the border is just the beginning of their story.