Sanctuary / Paola Mendoza & Abby Sher.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: In 2032, when sixteen-year-old Vali's mother is detained by the Deportation Forces, Vali must flee Vermont with her little brother, Ernie, hoping to reach their Tía Luna in the sanctuary state of California.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: In 2032 America, all citizens are chipped and everyone is tracked. It is almost impossible to survive as an undocumented immigrant, but that is exactly what Vali is doing. She and her family have carved out a stable, happy life in small-town Vermont. When Vali's mother's counterfeit chip starts malfunctioning and the Deportation Forces raid their town, they are forced to flee. On the run, Vali and her family are desperately trying to make it to her tía Luna's in California, a sanctuary state that is currently being walled off from the rest of the country. When Vali's mother is detained, Vali must carry on with her younger brother across the country to make it to safety before it is too late. -- adapted from jacket
    • Notes:
      Ages 12+. G. P. Putnam's Sons.
      Grades 7-9. G. P. Putnam's Sons.
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Booklist Reviews 2020 August #1

The all-too-possible future in this suspenseful dystopian novel amplifies the undocumented immigrant experience in the U.S. In 2032, the violent death of a young girl at the Great American Wall near San Diego gives the authoritarian, xenophobic president the right moment to enact a media shutdown and launch the Deportation Force (DF), a brutal extension of ICE that operates outside the law. Eleventh-grader Vali has lived safely with her mami and eight-year-old brother, Ernie, in Vermont since her father was deported back to Colombia. But now the DF is closing in. When Mami's counterfeit wrist identification chip malfunctions, Vali and Ernie must leave her behind to survive. Vali trusts a coyote to drive them to California, which has declared itself a sanctuary. At the halfway mark they are on foot, hunted by drones, and barely escape an attempt to force Vali into prostitution. Death edges closer every hour as hunger, thirst, and injury sap their energy. This intense, realistic novel never lets up, even as Vali flashes back to the love and sacrifices that sustain her. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2021 #1

In this near-future dystopian novel by Women's March co-founder Mendoza and author/performer Sher, it's 2032 in a U.S. with frightening echoes of the one seen in recent years. The news is full of xenophobic hysteria about immigration, and the government has an armed force to deport undocumented people in the country -- but everything is more extreme, including computer chips in each person's arm to prove their citizenship. In the book's chilling opening scene, Vali and her mother and brother, undocumented immigrants from Colombia who have paid for counterfeit chips and are living relatively peacefully in Vermont, see a broadcast on the government-controlled news that shows a teen girl killed by a landmine while she attempts to cross the border from Mexico into California. Suddenly, everything changes: California secedes from the U.S., Vali's mother witnesses a Deportation Force raid on her farm workplace, and it becomes clear that Vali and her family must leave home to seek sanctuary in the new California. Along the difficult and harrowing trek, Vali and her brother are separated from their mother, and they witness up-close the cruelty of a country ruled by hatred and fear. This fast-paced drama depicts the trauma of Vali's journey in an unflinching, heart-wrenching way that can feel all too real and timely. Christina L. Dobbs January/February 2021 p.110 Copyright 2021 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.