Reviews for The Only Road

by Alexandra Diaz

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

When his cousin, Miguel, is killed by a drug cartel, twelve-year-old Jaime and Miguel's older sister Angela--fearing the same fate--flee their Guatemalan village. Heading through Mexico to the U.S. for refuge with Jaime's brother, their journey is fraught with danger (and occasional violence). A gripping, timely tale that raises important questions about empathy. Includes an author's note and teachers' resources. Reading list. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Terrorized and threatened by a local drug gang, a 12-year-old boy and his 15-year-old cousin flee their Guatemalan village and seek refuge in the United States.After the Alphas murder his cousin Miguel for refusing to join, Jaime Rivera receives an ultimatum: join the Alphas or else suffer the same fate. ngela, Miguels older sister, also falls prey to the violent gangs demands. With little recourse, Jaime and ngela must journey north to los Estados Unidos, where Jaimes older brother awaits them. Crossing into Mexico after a nighttime getaway, Jaime and ngela meet fellow runaway teens, each with different reasons for fleeing home. Their passage, nevertheless, proves treacherous for everyone, child or adult. La migra, trains, bandits, and more gangs. Everything seemed worse than what they had left behind. Though Jaime and ngelas story features dizzying acts of violence and abuse, Diaz explores such complex, grim matters with great care. The authors use of third-person narration situates readers at a distance from the horrors that assail the protagonists while at the same time allowing opportunities to dig into Jaimes grief during crucial moments. Its Jaimes sorrow over Miguels death that best defines Diazs novel, reminding readers of the real-life struggles afflicting many Latin American immigrants every day. Still, not many people get the happy ending served here. A deft, harrowing, yet formulaic sketch of a complex subject. (authors note, glossary, further reading, resource list, bibliography) (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.