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|Beast rider : a boy's journey beyond the border|
Author: Johnston, Tony
To be reunited with his brother, twelve-year-old Manuel will have to cross the border and survive the perilous journey from Mexico to Los Angeles.
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 76881
Kirkus Reviews (+) (01/15/19)
School Library Journal (03/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/02/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2019 A Mexican boy makes the treacherous journey to Los Angeles to find his older brother in this timely novel. Manuel loves his family, his dog, and his dusty corn plot. But he dearly misses his older brother, Toño, who hopped the train to America. Despite the dangers of riding “the beast”—it can dismember hopeful riders as they try to board, and its passengers often face violence from police and gangs—Manuel hops the train, too. During his three-year journey, Manuel meets with both violent cruelty and extraordinary kindness. When he makes it to Los Angeles and to Toño, Manuel is finally safe, but he wonders if Los Angeles will ever feel like home. The authors do not shy away from the brutal realities of Manuel’s journey, but they also glory in the kindness and love of strangers, giving this harrowing story a balance of fear and hope. Manuel is a resilient protagonist who feels the effects of his traumatic passage but also displays a fierce commitment to finding home, wherever that may be. A tough yet hopeful immigration story. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2019 Gr 4–7—The train that passes near Manuel's family farm in Mexico is called The Beast, and Beast Riders are those who jump onto this moving train headed toward the U.S. Manuel has a loving family, but life on the farm is difficult, and he longs to be reunited with his older brother who reached Los Angeles four years earlier. He slips away from home one night at the age of 12 and becomes a Beast Rider himself. Although Manuel knows the ride will be challenging, he is not prepared for the cunning tactics of thieves and gangs; he is beset by violence multiple times, and his severe injuries prolong his journey. With the help of kind strangers and a group of smugglers hired by his brother, Manuel finally arrives in Los Angeles at the age of 15. Their reunion is joyful, but Manuel struggles to become accustomed to life as an undocumented immigrant in a large city and must decide whether this new life is really what he wants. This story feels personal and real; it does not romanticize or try to fully tackle the complex issue of immigration. Manuel narrates in a frank, unflinching manner, using a well-crafted combination of short, abrupt thoughts and longer descriptive sentences. Spanish words and phrases are woven expertly throughout the narrative. Back matter includes a glossary of terms and their English counterparts, as well as an authors' note giving context about real-life Beast Riders. VERDICT Told directly and effectively, this story gives readers an opportunity to be present for one young man's harrowing journey as an immigrant to the U.S.—Sarah Reid, Four County Library System, NY - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.