Monday, April 3, 2017

Return to Sender

Return to Sender
by Julia Alvarez

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Synopsis:  After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm.  Tyler isn't sure what to make of these workers.  Are they undocumented?  And what about the tree daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected to her American life?  Mari's family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico.  Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?
from the book jacket

Review:  This book is written in two forms: one, a narrative about Tyler and two, letters written by Mari to various people.  Tyler is forced to confront his feelings about having Mexican workers on his family's farm and how he should act around Mari.  Mari and her family live in fear that la migra (ICE) is going to find them and take them back to Mexico.  Mari's mother has been missing for almost a year but Mari still believes that she is alive and will find her and her family.  This book gives a look into what undocumented workers have to face and how they must feel.  Mari and Tyler develop a friendship that bonds the two of them together as they face a struggle.  There are terrible events that happen in this story so I would recommend it for older readers, not middle grades.  It also has one line that I thought was completely inappropriate (about a character being laid) for students and unnecessary.

Rating: 4 stars

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