title: Border Town: Crossing the Line
author: Malin Alegria
date: Scholastic; May 2012
main character: Fabiola (Fabi) Garza
Crossing the Line had a somewhat slow start but, that’s OK because we’re being introduced to a cast of characters who are meant to sustain this new Latina series. Fabi’s family runs a restaurant in a small town in southern Texas. Both of her grandmothers (who do not get along) work here, as well as her mother (who can shut you down just with her look), father (who rarely leaves the kitchen), her cousin, Santiago (sometimes) and her sister, Alexis (who is about to begin high school). Alexis is everything that Fabi isn’t: she’s confident, bubbly and outgoing yet the two sisters get along quite well, so much so that Fabi wants to prepare and protect her sister as she joins her in high school. She feels that she’ll finally have a confidant at school and may even begin to enjoy it. But, she hasn’t realized that her sister isn’t like her. And, I should mention, she’s also headstrong.
BorderTown will easily be enjoyed by MG and YA readers. There is no sex, profanity or drug use in the books, but the story line brings in enough drama to satisfy this age group. It is a Latino series that delivers rather wholesome storylines without being corny or dated. The text is dotted with more complex Spanish phrases than I typically see and there is a glossary to support those not familiar with the language.
Readers may learn some Spanish, may be introduced to elements of Mexican American culture, but this is truly an American story that any teen can relate to.
Crossing the border doesn’t stop with a dramatic cliff hanger but it does end having introduced characters who we come to like well enough to want to get to know better.
Malín Alegria was raised in San Francisco’s Mission District. She’s a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and received her MA in Education. She is a teacher, organic gardener, seed activist, Aztec dancer, and performer. “Estrella’s Quinceñera” was published by Simon & Schuster in 2006. Her second novel “Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico” was released May 2007. Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies “Once Upon a Cuento,” and “15 Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and other Quinceañera Stories”.
Would you like to win a copy of the first and second book in this new series from Scholastic? I have two sets available for two lucky winners! Complete the form below for a chance to win. If you tweet about the contest, use #ScholasticBorderTown in your tweet and cut and paste it into the box below for an extra chance to win.
Contest ends at midnight 25 May 2012. Good luck!