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Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico Hardcover – May 22, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Sofi is a California teen obsessed with clothes, boys, and trying to escape the strict controls of her immigrant parents. Fed up with their rules, she tells them that she is spending the weekend with a friend, cramming for finals. Instead, she sets off for Mexico with two girlfriends. Instead of the anticipated romantic encounter with her big crush, Sofi experiences drunken make-out sessions and American tourists behaving badly. Eager to return home, she is stopped at the border and told that her green card is a fake. Hysterical, Sofi calls home to discover that she and her parents are not legal citizens, and that she is trapped. Unable to speak Spanish, she goes to stay with her father's sister. Far away from iPods, Internet access, and a working phone, Sofi is forced to review her life and realize the sacrifices her parents made to give her better opportunities. The plot is paced well, with Sofi gradually evolving from a spoiled American teen into a bicultural, bilingual young adult. The Spanish language and foreign setting are well integrated into the book. While the Americans are more shallowly developed, the Mexicans whom Sofi encounters are vivid and well-rounded. Although there are occasional clichés, the writing is emotional and engaging. The author's Estrella's Quinceañera (S & S) and Laura Resau's What the Moon Saw (Delacorte, both 2006) also explore a young woman's struggle with a bicultural identity.—Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX
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From Booklist

"What's the harm in a little white lie?" wonders Mexican-born, Orange County resident Sofi Mendoza, who attends a classmate's house party near Tijuana against her parents' wishes. On the 17-year-old's return, she's stopped at the border and learns the impossible: her green card is false. Barred from reentering the U.S., she takes refuge with a Mexican aunt she's never met, and while her parents fight legal battles, she gradually shifts from terror and sneering disapproval of her relatives to openhearted love and gratitude. As in Estrella's Quinceañera (2006), Alegria combines chick-lit elements with a girl's struggle to define her Mexican American identity. Unsparing descriptions of ugly Americans include graphic "Girls Gone Wild" episodes that will leave teens examining their own party culture. Views of Mexican life beyond the tourist beaches are welcome and rare in YA novels, and Sofi's bumpy search for herself will resonate with teens of all backgrounds, particularly those who, like Sofi, celebrate a mixed heritage as "a bridge between cultures, the best of both worlds." Engberg, Gillian
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (May 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689878117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689878114
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,222,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Being a publishing and education professional, I can't say enough about SOFI MENDOZA'S GUIDE TO GETTING LOST IN MEXICO. Alegria's voice is very real as well as engaging. Her description of Mexico truly brought me back to the moment I first stepped into the country--the sights, smells, attitudes...Also, the problems and hurdles that Sofi must overcome are not exaggerated nor simple. Again, Alegria's voice is real, and Sofi deals with real emotions and real problems. I couldn't be more impressed. Alegria captures the struggle for identity and independence of every emerging adult--with a Latino spin. Can't wait to buy Estrella's Quinceañera!
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Format: Hardcover
This book starts off pretty mindless, with a spoiled girl who wants to go to a party in Mexico because the guy she likes is going. Once she tries to get back in the U.S., however, she finds out that her parents did not enter legally & she can't get back to the life she knew. Inspired by a true story, the book examines border issues and immigration from a highly personal viewpoint. Sofi is forced to become a tougher person in Mexico and you will like her all the better for it. Very realistic--great romance as well as eye-opening in terms of culture. Highly recommend!
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Format: Paperback
The YA "teenage girl goes on an international trip and learns about herself" novel is a rather overexposed subgenre in which books filled mediocre writing, vapid storylines, and flat protagonists often proliferate. Nothing could be further from the truth in the case of Sofi Mendoza's Guide To Getting Lost In Mexico by Malin Alegria, though you wouldn't know it from looking at the totally boring and generic cover.

Sofi Mendoza is a senior in high school growing up in California. Frustrated by her overprotective parents' strict (and often unreasonable) rules, she tells them she'll be at a friend's house for the weekend and heads south across the border into Mexico to party at the vacation home of her crush's parents with some friends. Caught between two cultures: the Mexican one everybody assumes she identifies with due to her background and appearance, and the American one she claims as her own, Sofi unwittingly embarks on a journey of self discovery. What started out as an unsupervised party weekend filled with beer and prospects of making out turns into a much more serious self-examination of her personal identity, values, culture, heritage, and lifestyle when Sofi attempts to re-enter the United States with her friends, only to discover that her green card is a fake.

Marooned in Mexico with an aunt, uncle, and cousins she has never met, Sofi is furious and heartbroken. With little in the way of material resources, she's forced to summon personal strength she didn't know she had while trying not to focus on missing the Senior Class Trip, Prom, Finals Week, and Graduation.
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Format: Paperback
I greatly enjoyed reading this book. It was very interesting to observe how Sofi gradually began to change over time and respond to the environment around her in new ways. This book had a good moral at the ending which clearly demonstrated the importance of the saying "things are not always as bad as they seem". All in all, I would definitely recommend Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico to a friend.
Haili Adams
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