Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico

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9780689878121: Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico

"Do you guys have Internet?"..."How about TiVo?"..."You do get American TV?" The house was dark. Wait a minute -- do they even have electricity?

Even though Sofi Mendoza was born in Mexico, she's spent most of her life in California -- the closest she gets to a south-of-the-border experience is eating at Taco Bell. But when Sofi and her friends sneak off for a weekend in Tijuana, she gets in real trouble. To Sofi's shock, the border patrol says that her green card is counterfeit. Until her parents can sort out the paperwork and legal issues, Sofi is stuck in Mexico.

In the meantime, Sofi's parents arrange for her to stay with long-lost relatives in rural Baja. It's bad enough that Sofi has to miss senior prom and even graduation, but her aunt, uncle, and cousins live on a ranch with no indoor plumbing! As the weeks pass, though, she finds herself adapting to her surroundings. Sofi starts helping out on the ranch, getting along with her bratty cousins, and she even meets a guy with more potential than anyone from school. Through the unexpected crash course in her heritage, Sofi comes to appreciate that she has a home on both sides of the border.

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About the Author:

Malín Alegría is the author of Estrella's Quinceañera. She is an accomplished educator, dancer, and actress who has cowritten and performed in several stage plays. Ms. Alegría lives in San Francisco.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 9 Up—Sofi is a California teen obsessed with clothes, boys, and trying to escape the strict controls of her immigrant parents. Fed up with their rules, she tells them that she is spending the weekend with a friend, cramming for finals. Instead, she sets off for Mexico with two girlfriends. Instead of the anticipated romantic encounter with her big crush, Sofi experiences drunken make-out sessions and American tourists behaving badly. Eager to return home, she is stopped at the border and told that her green card is a fake. Hysterical, Sofi calls home to discover that she and her parents are not legal citizens, and that she is trapped. Unable to speak Spanish, she goes to stay with her father's sister. Far away from iPods, Internet access, and a working phone, Sofi is forced to review her life and realize the sacrifices her parents made to give her better opportunities. The plot is paced well, with Sofi gradually evolving from a spoiled American teen into a bicultural, bilingual young adult. The Spanish language and foreign setting are well integrated into the book. While the Americans are more shallowly developed, the Mexicans whom Sofi encounters are vivid and well-rounded. Although there are occasional clichés, the writing is emotional and engaging. The author's Estrella's Quinceañera (S & S) and Laura Resau's What the Moon Saw (Delacorte, both 2006) also explore a young woman's struggle with a bicultural identity.—Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX
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