Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork

Title: Disappeared
Author: Francisco X. Stork
Year Published: 2017


Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 326
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)Mexico and USA (TX)

FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a gift.


Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Four months ago Sara Zapata's best friend disappeared, abducted by the criminals who rule over Juarez. 

Four weeks ago her brother, Emiliano, fell in love with Perla Rubi, a girl whose family is as rich as her name.


Four hours ago Sara received a death threat...and her first clue to her friend's location.


Four minutes ago Emiliano was offered a way into Perla Rubi's world--if he betrays his own.


In the next four days, Sara and Emiliano will each face impossible choices, between life and justice, friends and family, truth and love. But when the criminals come after Sara, only one path remains for both the siblings: the way across the desert to the United States.


Review: I have been looking forward to reading this book since I first heard about it because I loved two of Stork's earlier books Marcelo in the Real World and The Memory of Light. But, I'll confess that it took me a while to connect to the story. I am not sure if it's because I was in the middle of reading CYBILS books or because I was dealing with the tragic debris flow/mudslides that happened in my neighborhood a few weeks ago.

Anyway, by the time I finished the book I was hooked. Sara and her brother Emiliano are really good main characters who are brave and smart. At first I thought there story was too fantastic; that it was too far fetched, but Juarez, Mexico is an intense city with cartel kidnappings and killings so I think the story is probably pretty spot on.

It is easy to imagine how a young man like Emiliano could get caught up in the drug business to make money to improve his family's level of living. And Sara, as a journalist, is very believable as someone who would investigate her friend's kidnapping. Unfortunately, that investigation gets them all in trouble.

Their experience crossing the border illegally into the US (with references to Trump's wall and tougher border patrols) seems realistic and scary. I like that the book ended on a positive note. Well, that isn't completely accurate. There is hope for a positive outcome and I think, given the story, that's the best for which a reader can hope.

Challenges for which this counts:

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