Home > Columns > Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge > The Only Road: A Review by Veronica Jorge

THE ONLY ROAD

by

Alexandra Diaz

A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

2016   

ISBN 9781481457507

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When you’re a kid, the most you should have to stress over is doing your homework, and the biggest fear should be a zit in the middle of your forehead just before your birthday party. Not so for 12-year-old Jaime and his 15-year-old cousin Angela.

The Alpha Gang has targeted them to become new members–an order, not a choice. The death of Jaime’s cousin and Angela’s brother Miguel remains engraved in their memories, fresh and tangible proof of what will happen to them too if they refuse to join.

Alexandra Diaz’s realistic and tense drama takes us into the heart of Guatemala and the depths of despair as one close-knit family makes the gut-wrenching decision to send the two children away–in order to save their lives.

The money for the “fees” to travel to El Norte, sewn into the waistband of Jaime’s pants, weighs heavily upon him, along with the realization that his family has plunged deeper into debt for his sake. Now their future–and his–depends upon his making it to the United States.

Jaime and his cousin dodge rogue border guards and endure hunger, thirst, fear, prejudice and hostility as they travel illegally from Guatemala into Mexico and then, hopefully, into the United States.

In an age of peoples displaced due to wars and catastrophes, and controversy over immigration issues, this title serves as a reminder of the reasons why many leave their countries for the dream and promise of America. The Only Road, a Pura Belpre Honor Book, reminds the reader that sometimes flight is the only option, and that love, at times, demands great sacrifices.

(My review originally published by the Christian Library Journal; used with permission.)

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on February 22nd!

Author Bio
Author Bio
Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York. Her genres of choice are Historical Fiction where she always makes new discoveries and Children’s Picture Books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited. She currently resides in Macungie, PA.
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Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York. Her genres of choice are Historical Fiction where she always makes new discoveries and Children’s Picture Books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited. She currently resides in Macungie, PA.
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  • Thanks for such a thoughtful review. Beautifully written. I was just in a country where so many wish to come to mine. The hope is heart wrenching. It’s going on my list.

    • veronica jorge says:

      Thank you, Rebecca. Books like this remind us of our own families; everyone came to America from someplace else. And very few people leave their home countries willingly. Thanks for reading!

  • jenny says:

    An insightful, brsutifully written review. TY

    • veronica jorge says:

      Hi, Jenny So glad you liked it. As I replied above to Rebecca; reminds us all of our ancestors and their sacrifices and choices to come to America. I appreciate your taking the time to post a comment.

  • Neetu Malik says:

    A valuable and very relevant story that addresses the conflicts and intolerance of our time, it seems to be, after reading the review. I hope it reaches as many young readers as possible.

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