I’m kicking off the Bookshelf Blitz with some good old Gary Paulsen.
Title: The Crossing
Author: Gary Paulsen
ROTS Setting: CU, Mexico
Synopsis: 14yo Manny is an orphan in Juarez, Mexico. He competes with his bigger, meaner rivals for the coins American tourists throw off the bridge between Texas and his town. Across that heavily guarded bridge await a different world and a better existence.
On the night when Manny dares the crossing–through the muddy shallows of the Rio Grande, past the searchlights and the border patrol–the young man encounters an old stranger who could prove to be an ally or an enemy. Manny can’t tell for certain. But if he is to achieve his dream, then he must be willing to risk everything–even his life.
Recommendation: This book is recommended for teens.
According to the synopsis Manny Bustos is the main character, a kid living on the streets of Juarez, Mexico. It’s a border town so the tides of American tourists are a fact of life. His life is hard, pathetic, and extreme. I won’t deny that. I just find his experience generic. That is both a strength and a weakness.
A character that’s not mentioned is Robert Locke and I would assert that he is the actual main character of the book. He’s a sergeant in the Army who served in Vietnam. And I have to say history, experiences and thoughts were by far more interesting and dynamic than Manny’s. There is so much depth there and so much development.
As for plot it was ok. I think it has some subject matter that might be a bit inappropriate for younger readers, but I think a 14yr old should have able to handle it fine. It starts out like it’s going to be about Manny crossing the US/Mexico border……but it’s not……at all.
In summary it was good, but no where near Hatchet.