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La Linea Hardcover – April 4, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (April 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596431547
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596431546
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,517,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up-Six years ago, Miguel and Elena's mother and father left Mexico and crossed la línea into California. On the morning of Miguel's 15th birthday, he receives a note from his father telling him that it is time for him to join them. Miguel is sad to leave his grandmother and sister behind, but is excited about being reunited with his parents. Unbeknownst to Miguel, Elena, 13, disguises herself and joins him on the difficult journey. They are robbed, threatened, and almost perish in a desperate trek across the desert. The pacing of the plot is quick and driven, and the characters are realistically drawn. They interact as true siblings do, sometimes with love and sometimes not. Cultural and geographical background information is expertly woven into the novel. The author creates a mood of desperation and anxiety as the story unfolds and Miguel and Elena discover that crossing la línea will forever change the way they look at themselves and the world. Although the epilogue illuminates their lives as adults, the novel ends abruptly, leaving readers without the anticipated emotional release of their reunion with their parents.-Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 5-8. When Miguel, 15, leaves San Jacinto, Mexico, to join his parents in California, his sister, Elena, 13, secretly follows him. Together with their guides they barely survive a harrowing journey through the desert and across la linea, the border. A gripping contemporary survival adventure, this spare first novel is also a heart-wrenching family story of courage, betrayal, and love. The harsh facts of the border crossing are immediate--the horrors of dehydration, the soldiers' violence, corruption, and the migrants' terrifying, often disastrous attempts to hop the trains. Miguel's first-person narrative tells it without romanticism. The young people are brave, but they are angry at each other and at their parents, who left them seven years before. They do make it, but always there is the reality of those who do not. Jaramillo teaches migrant kids in California, and in her final notes, she says her story is fiction, but it is based on real events. Spanish is a natural part of the text; there is no glossary, and no need for one. Add this to the list of books in the Core Collection: "The New Immigration Story" in the August 2005 issue of Booklist. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I strongly recommend this book for classroom use.
EPATTKW
The author has written a book that is both fast paced and heartbreaking as it tells the story of two young people who take the risk of illegally crossing the border.
P. Fraser
Nevertheless, the fact that the author chose to end the book where she did will make the book more accessible length-wise for my reluctant readers.
Kate West

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Fraser on March 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author has written a book that is both fast paced and heartbreaking as it tells the story of two young people who take the risk of illegally crossing the border. Leaving their grandma's Mexican home to make the dangerous journey north to be reunited with their parents, the two experience the fear and danger that any illegal immigrant must feel. The characters that they meet and the experiences that they have are told in a manner that you do not want to put this book down. You root for them as they experience fear, hunger, thirst and exhaustion. This was a real eye opener for me. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who works with immigrants. A great selection for school libraries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Juan Ulloa on August 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Two young peole risk their lives to reunite their family, and in the process learn the strength and depth of their own resilience, their love for each other, and their place in the world.
An easy read, a simple story, about 8th grade level, through the eyes of two youngsters, without preaching. Charming and enlightening. I loved it!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gimme A. Book on November 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
La Linea is a real page-turner... This vivid telling of the perilous events faced by Mexican children trying to reach the United States every day will at once fascinate, horrify, and keep you on your toes. The exciting plot is backed up by complex characters to whom readers will instantly relate. Miguel and Elena are classic young teens, loving and seeking approcal from their elders even as they struggle to assert their individuality. Jaramillo has created a book that will be devoured by young adults and older readers alike, particularly those with a blossoming interest in multicultural issues or human rights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RCM VINE VOICE on June 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
"La Linea" by Ann Jaramillo definitely tells an interesting and important story. It is the story of two siblings from Mexico desperate to join their parents in California at all costs despite the dangers that await. Without doing so directly, Jaramillo raises questions about immigration and the responses to it on both sides of the border. It is an honest and unflinching look at the issue that will appeal to young readers, especially those who have similar backgrounds.

Miguel has been dreaming of the day he could leave the brokendown town of San Jacinto for almost seven years. Now that he is fifteen, his father finally sends for him, but his younger sister, Elena, is not about to be left behind. It doesn't matter that she is two years younger than he is, she is just as determined to leave Mexico, even if it costs them more than they can afford to pay. Miguel reluctantly takes his sister along, changing his plans as he does so, and they hop aboard the "mata gente" - the "people killer" - a freight train that travels north, free of charge (except for the immigration officers, train gangs, and possible death that accompanies it). Jaramillo traces their journey on the train, through the barren and blistering hot desert as the siblings try to cross the border and start their dream lives with their parents.

"La Linea" is a fast, compelling read, and Jaramillo, a middle school ESL teacher in California, peppers her story with Spanish phrases. Her experiences with similar students definitely gave her an ear and eye for what to write about, as Miguel's and Elena's experiences are real and heartbreaking. If I have one complaint with the book it is that it ends way too quickly: it seems as if Miguel and Elena are in the middle of the journey when the novel ends, and too many questions are left unanswered, but that is part of real life, as Miguel learns too late. What one dreams or imagines may not be what one needs or learns to be true.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pilates Fan on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I fear I'm the only person who feels this way, but here's why:

I couldn't put the book down, I wanted to find out what would happen to Miguel and Elena next. I felt a connection with the characters, adored the way the brother and sister duo bonded through their ordeals. But when the book ended, I felt cheated. The story seemed to be building up toward the ending, which never happened, and which I believe Jaramillo tried to resolve in the epilogue, but it fell short.

Also, because of the author's notes, I felt like the book suddenly became a plea to make immigration legal, especially when Jarramillo remarked "the U.S. Border Patrol...has pushed immigrants to cross at increasingly remote, uninhabitated, and dangerous parts of the border." Yes, I learned a lot about what illegal immigrants might go through to get to America by reading this book. But by the end, I felt more like I had watched a documentary told through the lens of a boy escaping the horrors of immigration, or a sermon by Jaramillo, rather than an eye-opening, heart-wrenching novel.

Finally, as a middle school teacher myself, I find the Spanish phrases and sometimes mature topics a little too intense for the recommended 5th grade and up. Other stories that use Spanish text with English, such as Esperanza Rising and Heat translate the words or phrases within the sentence or the next one. This one does not. It doesn't affect me, I still felt Jaramillo was able to tell her story maintaining the authenticity of Mexican culture, but I fear several of my students will get bogged down with the Spanish phrases. I would say this should be recommended for 7th or 8th grade and up.
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