The Border by Steve Schafer (2017)
YA Fiction | Contemporary | Thriller
“One moment changed their lives forever.
A band plays, glasses clink, and four teens sneak into the Mexican desert, the hum of celebration receding behind them.
Crack. Crack. Crack.
Not fireworks―gunshots. The music stops. And Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys are powerless as the lives they once knew are taken from them.
Then they are seen by the gunmen. They run. Except they have nowhere to go. The narcos responsible for their families’ murders have put out a reward for the teens’ capture. Staying in Mexico is certain death, but attempting to cross the border through an unforgiving desert may be as deadly as the secrets they are trying to escape…”
Expected Publication Date: September 05, 2017
Steve Schafer has a Masters in International Studies from the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Wharton. He grew up in Houston and has since had the privilege to live, work, volunteer, and travel internationally. The bulk of this experience has been in Latin America. His debut novel, The Border, was acquired by Sourcebooks Fire imprint and will be released September 5th, 2017. Steve lives near Philadelphia with his wife and two kids.
A terrifying thriller from start to finish that explores family, culture, fear, and the depths of survival. A fast-paced plot made more sinister by the truth behind its story.
There is plenty of intense action to keep the plot racing ahead with wolves at its heels, but there is also a heavy burden of drama and emotions as these teens must deal with death, gangs, survival, desperation, and mourning, as well as their own self-discovery and development.
I liked the Spanish that was sprinkled throughout the text but think that there are some aspects to this book that need to be worked on a bit more (with both character and plot development – occasionally there would be seemingly random or spontaneous jumps in development as well as certain choices that I either rolled my eyes at or frowned at) but overall Schafer has a good idea here. The cover drew me in and as a half-Mexican I found the concept intriguing.