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Miguel's life is just beginning. Or so he thinks. Fifteen-year-old Miguel leaves his rancho deep in Mexico to migrate to California across la linea, the border, in a debut novel from Ann Jaramillo of life-changing, cliff-hanging moments.
But Miguel's carefully laid plans change suddenly when his younger sister Elena stows away and follows him. Together, Miguel and Elena endure hardships and danger on their journey of desperation and desire, loyalty and betrayal. An epilogue, set ten years after the events of the story, shows that you can't always count on dreams--even the ones that come true.
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Ann Jaramillo teaches English as a Second Language to Mexican-American seventh and eighth graders in Salinas, California. She is the author of the young adult novel La LineaFrom School Library Journal:
Grade 5 Up-Six years ago, Miguel and Elena's mother and father left Mexico and crossed la línea into California. On the morning of Miguel's 15th birthday, he receives a note from his father telling him that it is time for him to join them. Miguel is sad to leave his grandmother and sister behind, but is excited about being reunited with his parents. Unbeknownst to Miguel, Elena, 13, disguises herself and joins him on the difficult journey. They are robbed, threatened, and almost perish in a desperate trek across the desert. The pacing of the plot is quick and driven, and the characters are realistically drawn. They interact as true siblings do, sometimes with love and sometimes not. Cultural and geographical background information is expertly woven into the novel. The author creates a mood of desperation and anxiety as the story unfolds and Miguel and Elena discover that crossing la línea will forever change the way they look at themselves and the world. Although the epilogue illuminates their lives as adults, the novel ends abruptly, leaving readers without the anticipated emotional release of their reunion with their parents.-Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX
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