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Return to Sender

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3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,957 Ratings  ·  518 Reviews
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 from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her Americ ...more
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2009)
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Walt
Mar 26, 2009 Walt rated it it was amazing
Julia Alvarez knows how to characterize the blur in the line between right and wrong. She knows how to make it clear that reality and morality are continuums and not dichotomies of this or that, up or down, or yes or no. There are no absolutes. (Now, there's an oxymoron.) We have a long way to go.

Alvarez begins with a young man, her protagonist, Tyler, the younger eleven-year-old son in a family who has survived and thrived by running a dairy farm in Vermont. The family's farming heritage is at
...more
Jean
Sep 11, 2009 Jean rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this books since Julia Alvarez is such a wonderful writer. But I was sorely disappointed and about 3/4 of the way through I just gave up. The story is told in two voices, one omniscient with the focus on Tyler and one in first person by Mari. Both characters are 11, but other than glimpses of the bullies at school, we don't see very much that ties them to that age group. Mari tells her story in the form of "letters" that are so stilted and overwritten that it strained credib ...more
Arianne Thompson
I read this book along with my tutoring student: it was her going-in-to-10th-grade summer reading assignment. I'll try to include both our perspectives, as she's certainly much closer to the intended audience than I am.

I tell you what, though: I'm surprised by the school's choice. These students are 14/15 years old, but the book's protagonists, Tyler and Mari, are only 11. I don't believe that the old "kids only want to read about older kids" saw is universally true (of the millions of 9th grade
...more
Anne
Jun 25, 2009 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: youngadult, bbya-2009
This book disappointed me--I would give it 2.5 if I could. Julia Alvarez is a brilliant novelist who should probably stick to writing for adults, because her young adult "tone" comes off as forced, oversimplified, and too young. This is a compelling and timely story bogged down by an awkward format, too many exclamation points, and a style that isn't true to Alvarez's lyrical talents.
Kelly
Jul 15, 2010 Kelly rated it it was ok
the best part of this book was learning that this punctuation mark: ?! is called an interrobang. who knew?!
Scott

Alvarez, J. (2009). Return to sender. New York, NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers. 336 p. 978-0375858383. $16.99. Gr. 4-7.

Tyler Paquette’s family farm is in trouble after the death of his grandfather and an injury to his father. When his family hires some migrant workers from Mexico, Tyler is torn between saving the place he loves and upholding the law of the country he loves. As Tyler wrestles with his feelings, he begins to develop a friendship with a daughter of one of the workers, named Mari
...more
529_Gary
Oct 08, 2011 529_Gary rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-latino
The Cruz family just wants to earn a living in America. They move from North Carolina to Vermont to find a better place to live and work. There is one major problem. They are illegal aliens in the United States. The Cruz family moves into a trailer near the Paquette family and works on their dairy farm. Things seem to be going ok but the Cruz family is always on the look out for immigration. We learn that the Cruz family is searching for the childrens mother and that she has been held captive by ...more
Sara Check
Oct 18, 2011 Sara Check rated it it was ok
1.This is a Junior Book, Contemporary Realism.

2.Tyler and his family are in jeopardy of losing their farm and the only way to save it is to hire illegal Mexican workers. This story of friendships, morals and human decency ties these two families forever.

3.A. Julia Alvarez has created a plethora cast of fascinating characters in a real life setting where anything seems possible under a blanket of stars. The setting of an innocent dairy farm in the state of Vermont and the very controversial subje
...more
Donna
Oh My!!!!What a lovely, heartwarming book. Tyler's(12 years old) father is injured in a tractor accident and in order for the family to continue working the family farmland, they hire migrant workers from North Carolina. The Cruze Family members are Mari, Papa, Tio Felipe, Tio Armando, Luby, Offie and Mama. Mama was left behind and Luby and Offie are the only members of the family that were born in the United States. Most of the book consists of letters that Mari writes to her Mother explaining ...more
Daniela
Nov 13, 2012 Daniela rated it it was amazing
Grade Level: 5-7th grade
Main Characters: Tyler and Mari
Setting: Vermont
POV: third person chapters about Tyler and first person diary entries/letters from Mari

Summary:
This is a story about undocumented migrant workers told in two different perspectives. Tyler is an 11-year old boy whose father was injured and are at risk for losing their dairy-farm in Vermont. In order to keep their farm, they hire undocumented migrant workers to help keep it running. Mari is the same age as Tyler, and her family
...more
Janet Frost
May 14, 2013 Janet Frost rated it really liked it
This book was on my list for Hispanic authors with Hispanic characters. I was totally engaged with the characters. The story was based on several pertinent struggles in our country today. The main conflict was concerning migrant workers and the immigration issues. But the secondary, and equally as heart-wrenching story-line was the farm family that is forced to hire the migrant workers in order to save their family farm. The young characters genuinely struggle through the minefield of these very ...more
Rachel
Jan 21, 2016 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down! I was engrossed in the story, waiting to see what was going to happen to Mari and her family and wondering how this was going to impact Tyler and the farm. The continual shift in perspectives between these two main characters kept me engaged as well. I tried to imagine that I was reading this novel as a middle school student, wondering how I would react and whose "side" I would have been on at that age. I appreciated that Tyler was going through a similar struggle ...more
Wendy
Apr 16, 2009 Wendy rated it it was ok
Disappointing--definitely not one of her best. It's way too long for the middle grade audience (actually, it's just too long, but especially for middle grade), repetitious, occasionally preachy. I see several comments mentioning it as a "teen" book, but it's really not--the main characters are eleven (so no, it isn't that they just seem young), and the language is pretty simple, especially the author's notes in the back. Half the book is told in letters, and you see the standard problems--Mari a ...more
Libriar
Mar 24, 2009 Libriar rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
A great story about undocumented Mexican workers told from two sides: the daughter of a Mexican worker and the son of family that employs the undocumented workers. I really got into the story and think Alvarez did a great job showing both sides to a controversial topic. I was quite disappointed in how she went about telling both sides though. The son's story was told in third person while the daughter's story was told through letters. Every time I came back to the son's story it took me several ...more
Abby Johnson
Nov 15, 2009 Abby Johnson rated it liked it
Everything's changing on Tyler's family's Vermont dairy farm. After his father had the accident and Tyler's older brother went to college, Tyler's dad had to hire workers from Mexico to help with the milking. At first Tyler is appalled their their family would hire illegal aliens, but once he gets to know Mari, daughter of one of the workers, he begins to change his mind. Mari writes letters to her mother who has been missing for months and might be dead.

The alternating viewpoints give a well-r
...more
Rita
Finally finished the last of this set of books I had to read for my class! This book was so incredibly touching and reflective of the harrowing fears and issues illegal immigrants must face trying to earn a better living by coming to America. I adored that this book was in dual perspective, as it gives insight to both sides of the coin: white American citizen and Mexican illegal immigrant.

I had major issues with many of the white POVS at the beginning of this book, however, it is important to no
...more
Anne Marie
Oct 25, 2009 Anne Marie rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
The topic of the book and the way the story is related - through narrative prose and letters, and also through insightful points of view - were really interesting, but ultimately completely overshadowed by how heavy-handed, preachy, and condescending the book is. There is also very little description of any characters or settings - all emphasis is on dialogue and "lesson-teaching."
Laura
Return to Sender was definitely not something I would have picked up on my own. It was assigned reading for my intercultural connections class. I don’t usually read juvenile fiction (but I’m working on changing that). From the beginning things were a little rocky with this title. Even now, while I’m trying to write a review, my opinion is still rocky.

Tyler is a an eleven-year-old boy returning to his family’s farm after a sabbatical in the city with his aunt and uncle to heal after the death of
...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
While I was interested enough in the basic premise of this book to finish it (and periodically even look forward to reading more of it), I rather hated the book. The writing was very clunky, especially in the letters that Mari writes. They simply aren't believable as letter when Mari does things like record dialog and tell her mother and her uncle's family, about which her mother should know. The characters felt a bit shallow and trite, as do many of the plot devices. I heard a colleague say tha ...more
Michael Heneghan
Dec 28, 2012 Michael Heneghan rated it it was ok
This book was chosen this year for my 9th graders because I wanted to include more Latino writers in our curriculum here at ASPV. I think it is important, when possible, to include a diversity of authors in Literature study, especially important to include authors that are culturally similar to students in my class, or the subject matter itself may be particularly relevant to students.

Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American writer, and her books are award winners, so I chose them for class withou
...more
Anne
Oct 26, 2010 Anne rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s
Mari Cruz and Tyler Paquette are both 12 years old, but the similarities end there. Mari was born in Mexico and lives with her father, two uncles and two sisters in North Carolina. Her mother left the family the previous year to return to Mexico to be with her ailing mother and nobody has seen or heard from her since. The family's livelihood seems uncertain until they are given the opportunity to work for the Paquette family in Vermont. Tyler's grandfather died the previous year of a heart attac ...more
Ruhama
Sep 07, 2010 Ruhama rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile
Told from two different perspectives, this is a story of immigrants from Mexico, half of which are illegal, and a Yankee farm family. Tyler lives on a dairy farm in Vermont, and they need help. His grandfather recently died, his father had a farming accident and his older brother is leaving for college. This leads to hiring Mari and her family, and thus begins a tale of friendship, freedom and understanding. Tyler and Mari are in school together, and discover they both enjoy stargazing, which of ...more
Christy
Jul 18, 2012 Christy rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Q_joanneknowles
Return to Sender is the story of two friends, Mari and Tyler, and their families who seem to have nothing in common. Mari's family has come to American to earn a living and Tyler's family is depending on Mari's family to keep their beloved farm up and running. Although I did enjoy reading this book, I thought Mari's character seemed too sophisticated for a sixth grade girl, especially in her writing style to her mother. Like other reviews I have read, I loved the teacher Mr. B.

Some parts of the
...more
Kari
Aug 17, 2010 Kari rated it it was ok
A couple things to note first off, the book is written in a mix of letters that Mari writes and 3rd person narration watching the character Tyler. By doing this the reader is able to see things from multiple points of view and creating variety to the story telling. At times it felt a bit stilted and if you didn't pay attention to whom the letter was written, it could be a tad confusing.



I'm conflicted writing this review. Parts I really liked and others...not so much. This is a hot topic right no
...more
Laura
Jun 27, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not Julia Alvarez's best. I'm completely Democrat about immigration issues, and even I cringed at the over-the-top presentation of the theme. This will serve well to indoctrinate my sons to my way of thinking when they're old enough, but it's too one-sided for me to respect.

As for the writing itself, the story dragged. The multimedia format annoyed me -- lots of plot exposition forced into letters and diary entries with "as you already know" to cover up the unnatural explanations. The line "Mayb
...more
Natalie Varnell
Oct 15, 2012 Natalie Varnell rated it it was ok
Genre: Contemporary Realism
Summary:
Return to Sender is a story told through two different perspectives. The two voices to be heard throughout the book come from two different twelve year olds. One is a son of a farmer, and the other is the oldest of three Mexican daughters working without proper documents on a Vermont farm. Tyler is the young boy in this story and he learns that sometimes being wrong is being right. Mari is the young girl and through her letters we can see the struggle to be str
...more
Sara Hannon
Oct 16, 2011 Sara Hannon rated it did not like it
1. Contemporary Realism, Junior Chapter Book
2. Return to Sender is a book about a family of illegal Mexican immigrants who come to work on a family farm. The American family learns tolerance and not to judge because not only do the workers help save their farm, they also teach them about Mexican culture and the importance of the issue of immigration.

3. One thing that stood out to me the most from this story was the way it was written. Part of the narrative was in a basic narrative form told from
...more
Debbie Gillespie
Oct 16, 2011 Debbie Gillespie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Citation: Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (Yearling 2009)

1.Genre: Junior Chapter Book/ Contemporary Realism


2. Summary: Return to Sender is a story about two families, one farming family and one migrant worker family, struggling to survive and stay together through the many challenges each family faces and how true friendship can transcend their vast differences.

2.Critique:
a. The author uses two different styles of writing to differentiate between the two main characters, Tyler, a Vermont farm
...more
Amy
Oct 23, 2011 Amy rated it did not like it
1) Genre: Contemporary Realism

2) Mari’s Mexican family and Tyler’s American family are bonded unexpectedly as her family works on Tyler’s family’s farm. Though this seems to be a simple business trade, Mari and her father are in America illegally. This story is an account of the tribulations they endure together ultimately towards the acceptance of diversity.

3) Critique:

a) I’m not sure if it’s because of my personal beliefs about illegal immigration or if it was simply the way the story was w
...more
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Julia Álvarez was born in New York City. Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when Álvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC.

She is currently writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. The farm hosts a school to teach l
...more
More about Julia Alvarez...

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