La Linea

Ann Jamarillo's "La Linea" is a survival story that grips the reader from the very first page, and never lets go. Miguel and Elena live in San Jacinto, Mexico. Their mother and father left for California 7 years ago, and the children have never had contact with them since. Their grandmother, abuelita, is taking care of them now, but when Miguel finds out that a drug cartel Don Clemente owes the father a favor, after Miguel's father saved him from a fire, Miguel is determined to reconnect his fam Ann Jamarillo's "La Linea" is a survival story that grips the reader from the very first page, and never lets go. Miguel and Elena live in San Jacinto, Mexico. Their mother and father left for California 7 years ago, and the children have never had contact with them since. Their grandmother, abuelita, is taking care of them now, but when Miguel finds out that a drug cartel Don Clemente owes the father a favor, after Miguel's father saved him from a fire, Miguel is determined to reconnect his family in California no matter what, but the journey that awaits him and his sister is one with so many twists and narrow harrowing escapes from death and dismemberment that we feel compelled to find the ending. This story just has too many turns to encapsulate in one brief review. Suffice to say that Miguel and Elna go from a simple small town life with goats, corn, and campfires with friends and Abuelita's caring embrace into a world of corrupt federal Mexican police, drug cartel members, and U.S. border police. At first Miguel does not know that Elena his sister has snuck onto the same bus he has toward "La Linea" the Mexican- United States border. When the federal police officer and he find out blowing

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his cover, Miguel gets angry. The officer now knows their connection, and he quickly seeks to force every bus boarder to pay a bribe. The officer sends the whole busload to the Guatemalan border to the far south. With the help of El Salvadoran man named Javi, they plan their escape back to the northern Mexican border and reunion with each of their families. The story's action rises from this point to include riding dangerous rail lines, being mugged by Mexican hoodlums, and meeting Don Clemente's border contact Moises. Moises although no drug dealer is loyal to Don Clemente's wishes to supply the three and lead them to their destination- the United States. Snakes, rats, heat and dehydration, and the very real danger of dismemberment on trying to hitch a ride on a moving train! await our three travelers and the reader.

Ann Jamramillo fills every scene with engaging and plot twisting dialogue, detail, and action. It was truly hard to put this book down. The story of Mexican families trying to reunite with family members in the United States, and the incredible dangers they experience from exploitation, crime, and the incredible depravity of the journey across the desert is all tragically encapsulated in this novel. When the various passengers scramble like ants or jump off the moving train into the thorny bush, we the reader can appreciate the heightened fear and anxiety that Miguel and Elena must have experienced. This story has rarely been told, and readers likely appreciate the unbreakable iron will and savvy intelligence that beams through all the characters voices. "La Linea" would be a perfect compliment as a realistic fiction novel to a Social Studies class on Mexican immigration. Students should hear this authentic story that Ann Jaramillo details based on real events from Mexican immigrants.

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Category: Review

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