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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: A good, clean ex library issue with a few usual marks/clean and clear mylar jacket. No other imperfections. Light handling wear.
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La Linea: A Novel Hardcover – April 4, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • 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 (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,579,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who has watched the documentary "Which Way Home," which tells the story of the many young boys (and girls) who ride the freight trains north through Mexico will appreciate this well-written, engaging book. The characters were well-drawn and I thought the author did a fabulous job of writing about the dangers of crossing the border while keeping it appropriate for younger readers.
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Format: Paperback
La Línea is about the journey of two young teenagers trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border to be reunited with their family in California. It’s an incredibly poignant and moving novel. The trip North is hard for Miguel and Elena, and it’s not always easy to read about what the two had to endure. I certainly cried through a number of parts. It’s difficult to read about how dehumanizing and traumatic the experience is. While it’s fiction, it’s based on the lived experiences of some of Jaramillo’s own students. Knowing how close the story is to the accounts of many immigrants makes the reading even more intense. Jaramillo manages to communicate the danger, violence, and sacrifice while avoiding overdramatizing the emotions, which allows the story to remain accessible both to students who have had similar experiences as well as those who haven’t.

While it’s certainly a realistic account, there are times when I can imagine that Miguel and Elena were luckier than many in terms of the people they encountered, like Javi and Moíses, who led to their ultimate success in making it to the U.S. They met people who sacrificed their own lives so that the two teenagers would make it to their families in the U.S. Yet the story is not overly romanticized, by any means. Even though Elena and Miguel survive the journey, they lose a great deal. Such an experience can’t be forgotten; my guess is it forever changes a person. It’s one that perhaps you never fully recover from. When we consider the fact that some of our own students may have experienced the same thing, we realize how important a book like this is.

The novel puts a very human face on immigration.
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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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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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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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