In Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea, Nayeli's village in Mexico, Tres Camarones, has been invaded by dangerous drugs runners/bandidos but almost all of the men have gone to the United States to find work. Her father has been gone for years without sending money or even a postcard. When Nayeli realizes there is nobody around to save them, she's inspired by the movie, The Magnificent Seven. She and her friends will go to America to bring home her own Magnificent Seven to drive the bandidos away.
Highly recommended - A marvelous read that treats the "illegal" characters like the humans they are, with joys and sorrows like the rest of us. Nayeli is an especially strong character but a believable one, as are her friends, flaws and all. I was expecting the usual, harrowing border crossing adventure and there's plenty of that. What I didn't expect was the humor. Mexicans complaining that they need a wall on their Southern border. Border Patrolmen who put illegals on the bus back to Tijuana and, after asking, "Will you cross over again?" and being told yes, say "See you next week!" Just an all-around fabulous read, respectful, surprising, and hilarious.
I don't own any other books by Luis Alberto Urrea, unfortunately, but now I want to read his entire backlist. I love his sense of humor.
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