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Border Crossing Hardcover – October 27, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 15 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 10
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions; 1 edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571316892
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571316899
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,331,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The first-person narrative gives readers a poignant close-up of the teen's gradual loss of control to paranoid schizophrenia. Anderson's vivid portrayal of this frightening illness nevertheless offers hope for the valiant human spirit."
School Library Journal

"Poignant. Through the teenager's first-person narration, Anderson traces the isolated landscape of Rockhill, a very small town in Texas, and reveals the distressing stories behind the apparent simplicity of its inhabitants' lives. [A] thought-provoking exploration of mental illness."
Kirkus

"Like most of the best fiction, YA or otherwise, Border Crossing is really about Manz's search for a sense of self, his chafing against cruelty encountered at almost every turn. The author does an impressive job portraying [his] frightening mental illness. Even as Manz's paranoia becomes obvious, we never stop empathizing with his point of view. The short chapters and fast-paced scenes keep the pages turning, but it is [Anderson's] descriptions that make this fictional world almost crystalline in its bleak beauty."
Texas Observer

"Border Crossing is a fascinating and disturbing novel of Manz's descent into hallucinatory paranoia and suspicion, a result of his emerging schizophrenia. Using a first-person narration, Anderson skillfully unwraps the contours and tragedy of Manz's life and mental illness. Highly recommended."
—Greg Leitich Smith, author of Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo and Tofu and T.Rex

"This taut coming of age novel explores mental illness and border issues in an honest and clear voice."
Boys Read 

More About the Author

Jessica Lee Anderson is the author of Trudy (winner of the 2005 Milkweed Prize for Children's Literature), Border Crossing (Quick Picks Nomination, Cynsational Book of 2009), as well as the forthcoming young adult novel, Calli (2011). She's published two nonfiction readers, as well as fiction and nonfiction for a variety of magazines including Highlights for Children. Jessica graduated from Hollins University with a Master of Arts in Children's Literature, and instructed at the Institute of Children's Literature for five years. She is a member of The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels and hopes to be more sweetheart than scoundrel. She lives near Austin, Texas with her husband and two crazy dogs.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kristen M. Harvey on August 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
An interesting look at the life of a teenage guy living in Texas. This novel deals with issues like alcoholism, class differences, illegal immigration, and child abuse.

Final verdict: Not the happiest story, but a decent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Hoover on May 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Starting this book, I wasn't sure what to think. But just pages in, and I was hooked. As I followed Manz on his journey, I found myself utterly wrapped up in the outcome. Readers will not want the book to end. Perfect for boys and girls, fans of realistic fiction, also reluctant readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on April 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
Manz's summer starts off regularly enough. Listening to his mother, Delores, come home drunk at night. Getting short-term jobs at ranches in the area with his friend, Jed. Then strange things begin happening.

He starts hearing voices, and they won't stop. They begin telling him what to do, and he starts listening. They tell him that people are after him. He's on the watch, constantly on edge. The border patrol will come to get him any day now, and everyone he knows is a conspirator in their plan. Or so he thinks.

Anderson has created an intriguing cast of characters who all deal with serious issues. Manz has schizophrenia, making it hard to know whether or not to believe anything that comes out of his mouth. At the start of the book, it isn't so bad, but as the story progresses it becomes increasingly worse. Delores has an alcohol addiction that amps up every time her partner, Tom, leaves town. Since Tom is a truck driver, that's fairly often. Manz's friend, Jed, deals with domestic violence from his father at home. Jed's mother and sister suffer, as well.

At less than two-hundred pages, BORDER CROSSING is a very quick read. The plot keeps you alert at all times, never knowing which way things will go. Although the ending isn't quite as clear as I would have liked, it still manages to wrap up the story well, while simultaneously leaving some things for the reader to decide on their own.

Reviewed by: Melanie Foust
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Format: Hardcover
Manz is living on the border, in so many ways. His father was Mexican, his mother is white, and he lives in Texas pretty close to Mexico. Things haven't been right with his Mom since his father died, and since she lost the baby it's gotten even worse. But Manz is starting to worry about things he didn't used to: like Operation Wetback and whether or not his stapdad can be trusted. As we delve further and further into Manz' story, we see that he is not only battling physical and cultural borders, but that he is on another border as well: sanity and delusion. BORDER CROSSING is heartbreaking, real, and impossible to put down.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Isaiah Luis "Manz" Martinez was born to a teenage mother, whose father disowned her not because she got pregnant so young but because she was carrying a Mexican's child. Manz is Mexican and Caucasian. His father, Adres "Loco" Martinez, passed away and so did his half-brother, Gabriel. Now it's just him and his mother, Delores, and her man, Thomas, whose job as a truck driver takes him away from home a lot. Manz and his family don't have much to live on, so he does his part by taking on a summer job. Working at Darby Guest Ranch is tougher than he thought but nothing is more difficult than listening to the strange sounds and voices no one else can hear. Will Manz learn to distinguish what's real from what's not or will he allow the voices to destroy him?

Jedediah (Jed) Parker isn't fighting a battle in his mind like his friend, but, just like Manz, he doesn't have the life of a typical teenager. This young man has a lot to deal with. He's more than a son and a brother; he's his mother and sister's protector, doing what he can to keep them safe from his abusive father.

I bought this book because I wanted to see how the author dealt with a subject as delicate as schizophrenia. I decided I was going to take my time reading; absorb every word so I'd understand exactly what Manz was going through. I predicted a couple of things early on in the story, but only because I know this mental disorder can be hereditary and extremely difficult to live with. Something that occurred with the Parker family was unexpected and the thoughts tormenting Manz at that time saddened me. And the paranoia Manz experienced throughout the story was so cleverly written that at times I wondered if what was really was.
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