Taylor Joseph with Lawrence Joseph
4 Star Publishing (2008)
Reviewed by Neha Kashmiri (age 13) for Reader Views (8/08)
Twelve-year-old Maria Perez lives with her mother, Anita, in a poverty-stricken area in Monterrey, Mexico. Maria’s father died when Maria was two leaving Anita to do everything she could to ensure their scarce survival. There aren’t many jobs in the area and Maria and her mother have to walk more than three miles in the blistering heat to get jobs for the day. But even that is a fight and sometimes they aren’t lucky.
When things start getting worse Maria’s mother has to make a horrific choice. She chooses incorrectly, and Maria is left alone with nowhere to go and no one to turn to for help. Maria ends up in a girl’s home, where she meets girls who had been in worse situations than her. Still, all alone, Maria has to learn to fend for herself and develops perseverance and courageousness in the hope of being reunited with her mother.
With their old life impossible to return to, what can they do now? How and where can they build another future? Could a better life be waiting across the border? Her honest, hard-working mother can’t plan to go to the U.S. illegally, can she?
“The Crossing” by Taylor Joseph is a quiet, emotional story about a girl’s determination to survive. The fact it was written by a 14-year-old girl in high school was impressive to me. The only two problems I had were that people were unnecessarily detailed and things were repeated. It’s a story that hit close to home for me since I have had friends who ended up being deported back to Mexico. I recommend it to people concerned about the illegal immigration crisis.