Book Review- The Border

Thursday, 5 October 2017
Title: The Border
Author: Steve Schafer
Published: 5th September 2017
Pages: 364
Genre: YA, Thriller, Contemporary

Rating: 4/5 stars

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... -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Sourcebooks Fire in return for an honest review.
I was really intrigued by the premise of this novel, especially as it is written as a Young Adult novel. The book is about 4 Mexican teens crossing the border into the USA to escape a drug cartel who mean to murder them.
With the Mexico/US border featuring in the news recently I thought this was a very topical novel, and also a very clever and sensitive way to draw attention to the border through a young adult novel and through teenage protagonists.
This is a fast paced novel, the action flows pretty much non-stop, and it's a nail biting novel from start to finish. The main characters find themselves in life-threatening situations constantly, and Schafer did a good job of making them feel realistic and tense, but still managed to keep the narrative thread going.
The group of characters that Schafer has created were a fascinating group to read about. They were all individual characters, and Schafer seems to have captured the voice of teenagers well, which can be tricky in YA.
The only aspect of the novel I wasn't so keen on was the elements of romance that the author included. It felt baseless and seemed to appear out of nowhere simply to tick the "romance box" in the novel. It also irritated me that the only female main character was included in this romance, it suggested to me that she had only been included to be this romantic interest to another character.
Overall I thought this was a pretty good YA novel about a subject I have never read about, and actually know very little about.

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