Award-winning Mexican author Juan Pablo Villalobos explores illegal immigration with this emotionally raw and timely nonfiction book about ten Central American teens and their journeys to the United States.
You can't really tell what time it is when you're in the freezer.
Every year, thousands of migrant children and teens cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The journey is treacherous and sometimes deadly, but worth the risk for migrants who are escaping gang violence and poverty in their home countries. And for those refugees who do succeed? They face an immigration process that is as winding and multi-tiered as the journey that brought them here.
In this book, award-winning Mexican author Juan Pablo Villalobos strings together the diverse experiences of eleven real migrant teenagers, offering readers a beginning road map to issues facing the region. These timely accounts of courage, sacrifice, and survival—including two fourteen-year-old girls forming a tenuous friendship as they wait in a frigid holding cell, a boy in Chicago beginning to craft his future while piecing together his past in El Salvador, and cousins learning to lift each other up through angry waters—offer a rare and invaluable window into the U.S.–Central American refugee crisis.
In turns optimistic and heartbreaking, The Other Side balances the boundless hope at the center of immigration with the weight of its risks and repercussions. Here is a necessary read for young people on both sides of the issue.
About the Author
Juan Pablo Villalobos was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1973. He studied marketing and Spanish literature. He has researched such diverse topics as the influence of the avant-garde on the work of César Aira and the flexibility of pipelines for electrical installations. He is the author of books including Down the Rabbit Hole and Quesadillas. He lives in Barcelona, Spain.
*2019 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers Literature Finalist!*
"A critical compilation of stories from unaccompanied Central American teen refugees who make tremendous sacrifices to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. This essential volume is deserving of more than one read." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Villalobos amplifies the voices of the young refugees mired in the current immigration crisis in this accessibly written collection. From the fear of gang violence to the hopefulness of family reunions, the stories, some of which are interconnected, demonstrate the complexity and unevenness of the current immigration and asylum policy. Stories of young refugees have been dominating the news, and Villalobos' approachable collection provides readers with varied, nuanced insight into the issues." —Booklist