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Border Crossing Hardcover – October 27, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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."

"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 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions; 1 edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571316892
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571316899
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,847,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Border Crossing by Jessica Lee Anderson is set in the present day. Isaiah Luis (who goes by Manz) is living with his mother, Dolores, in Rockhill Texas. 15 year old Manz deals with his father being dead, his mothers’ boyfriend (Thomas or Tom), and his mothers’ sadness over having lost her and her boyfriends’ baby. Manzs’ friend, Jed, also goes through his own family struggles. Each individual character has their own set of problems to face, which is what makes this book so interesting. You can personally relate to each character by drawing pieces from your own life and putting yourself into their shoes for a moment.
The title may be a bit misleading. The borders being crossed are not physical ones, but mental ones. The characters all have their own stone wall in front of them, metaphorically speaking. In this literature we face schizophrenia (Menz), alcoholism (Dolores), abuse (Jed and his family), racism (Dolores and Menz) and death (Dolores and Menz). Each one of these inner blockades is stuck inside a characters mind. Instead of the traditional obstacles seen in a Latin American novels, this novel takes on the challenge of creating “borders” within the characters. There is no need to literally jump over a fence (which is possible); but the need to overcome a much more painstaking fence that may not be able to get over ever.
This is a relatively easy read. The way it is written is simple and comprehendible, better for younger audiences. But this does not discredit the material. It is a truly amazing book that gives insight on the hardships that may not be obvious at first glance. For example, Menzs’ schizophrenia. In the beginning, one may not pick up on the fact that Menz has this condition.
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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
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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