It's 2032, and in this near-future America, all citizens are chipped and everyone is tracked--from buses to grocery stores. It's almost impossible to survive as an undocumented immigrant, but that's exactly what sixteen-year-old Vali is doing. She and her family have carved out a stable, happy life in small-town Vermont, but when Vali's mother's counterfeit chip starts malfunctioning and the Deportation Forces raid their town, they are forced to flee. Now on the run, Vali and her family are desperately trying to make it to her tía Luna's in California, a sanctuary state that is currently being walled off from the rest of the country. But when Vali's mother is detained before their journey even really begins, Vali must carry on with her younger brother across the country to make it to safety before it's too late. Gripping and urgent, co-authors Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher have crafted a narrative that is as haunting as it is hopeful in envisioning a future where everyone can find sanctuary.
What worked: Omg, this is one powerful gut-wrenching story that's is very similar to what's happening under this current administration. Vali's story is one that other undocumented citizens have gone through in order to seek refugee in the United States.
The first chapter grabs readers with one young undocumented immigrant trying to get into California and the horrific thing that happens next. Readers witness the hatred, racism that some have against anyone who is labeled 'illegal'. Vali's journey takes her to New York where the kindness of a nun directs her to a coyote that is supposed to take her to California. Much happens along the way. She witnesses terrible violations against those who just want to become citizens, tent cities where those who are rounded up are forced into slave labor to pay for what they 'took' from the US, separations of families, and those who try to take advantage of those in need.
Very realistic portrayals throughout this story that don't hold anything back on the cruel methods a futuristic President of the US uses in order to not only stay in power, but to deny rights to those who don't fit what he considers a true US citizen.
Haunting, gripping with it's tale of what could very well happen in our own country. This is a must read. Mostly though Vali's courage, strength will stay with readers long after they finish the book.