Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Border” as Want to Read:
The Border
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Border

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  545 ratings  ·  216 reviews
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 h
Kindle Edition, 364 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Border, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  545 ratings  ·  216 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Border
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
As Pato is entering his cousin's birthday celebration with his parents he sees a strange black car sitting outside the house and means to say something about it but with the excitement of entering with his family it slips his mind. Later in the night Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys sneak away from the party to smoke when all of a sudden gunshots ring out in the night.

When the group return they find everyone from all their families have been executed with the gunmen still there. Marcos thinks qui
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I was asked by the author Steve Schafer to give an honest review of the book, this was provided through netgalley, and here are my thoughts below :)

I shall firstly start off by saying I've never read anything like this before, it's in relation to a group of teenagers having to cross the border of Mexico and you see how this develops throughout as to why they need to do this, problems they face throughout etc.

I'm finding this really difficult to give a full review because some aspects of the book
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-read, netgalley, drama, own
Steve Schafer is celebrating the release of THE BORDER with a print copy giveaway!
Click on Cover to enter! - U.S. addresses - Ends September 10, 2017

Incredible life drama and the terror of four young teens running for survival after they witness the brutal mass slaying of their families and a contract is put on their lives. They will flee from their homes in Mexico across the scorching desert only to face attempting an unplanned, illegal escape into the United States. They are clueless as to wha
Veronica ⭐️
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, 2019, a
The Border is the debut novel of author Steve Schafer.

Four Mexican teenagers witness the cold blooded murder of their families, by a band of Narcos, whilst attending a 16th Birthday celebration. They flee into the darkened night with the sounds of death threats ringing in their ears.

Schafer has lived, worked, volunteered and travelled throughout most of latin America, including northern Mexico and it is clear he has extensively researched his topic.

The st
Liz Barnsley
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Border is a fast paced and thought provoking thriller, following 4 youngsters who having witnessed a violent tragedy go on the run through the harsh desert, facing danger at every turn.

The realities of the situation are brought to vivid and horrific life through the absorbing and immersive writing of the author – the kids are not all likable and they are not tough, although often they pretend to be and you are with them all the way in their frantic dash for freedom and their hope for a new l
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

The Border is a heart-breaking, harrowing tale that definitely puts a human face on illegal immigration. It is timely considering the political climate in the United States right now, with all of this fear-mongering and talk of building a wall.

In the Author's Note, Mr. Schafer states "My hope for anybody who reads this novel is that it inspires you to take a moment and imagine what drives someone to come to this country and what that journey is like, whether legal or illega
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was provided with an egallery by Sourcebooks Fire and Steve Schafer in exchange for an honest review.

When I first started reading The Border, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to enjoy it or not. I’ve never read a book that explores real-world issues from a fictional point of view. However, with the current political discourse surrounding legal and illegal immigration, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to read a book that focused on the individuals at the heart of the matter.

The Border is a
Greyson | Use Your Words
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
It's a strange word to use. I wonder if this is how it happens. If this is how you go on. If you simply decide that, in some small way, you got a break. That in spite of nearly everything that could have gone wrong, that did go wrong, a few of the cosmic dice have rolled in your favor. Enough to get by. Enough to leave you with a splinter of hope. And you build from there.

I had started to lose
Tyler Smith
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Steve Schafer’s The Border is, without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read all year. I don’t typically delve into YA, because, like many, I felt (wrongly, I see) like the genre didn’t have much to offer an “Old Adult,” but I’m delighted to be wrong. Bristling with suspense, humanity, horror, and humor, The Border is a gripping tale from start to finish.

When a deadly attack at a quinceñera suddenly sends friends Pato (our narrator) and Arbo--along with the cool soccer star Marcos, and Glady
amber (ambr.reads) 🦋💗
This book follows 4 friends Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys. They are at a family members quincera when shots fire and from then their lives have changed.

The beginning of the book was equally sad for me. These 4 kids watched their family members be killed in front of them and they couldn't help without getting killed themselves. So they decide to go on the run. They meet up with a man that Pato knows and he helps them get supplies together to cross the border and go to the States.

I was really p
Words cannot describe how important I think “The Border” is for everyone from middle grade up to read. The story really put a face on the plights of those crossing the US border from the south. The author did meticulous research and took great care to tell the story in an easy to understand manner. This would be perfect for classroom and child/parent discussions. It’s also a good choice for reluctant readers and those looking for diversity in their books. Highly recommended.

This unbiased review
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: June 24th 2018

“We are right on the border. The border. Of story, of legend, of dreams. ut we might as well be on the moon. So famous, yet so desolate.”

(view spoiler)
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-contemporary
I'll admit that this book hit me pretty hard. I knew when I agreed to read it that it was going to be emotionally-charged, but knowing and feeling aren't the same thing. The opening chapters where the families of the four main characters, Pato (the narrator), Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys, are murdered packs a punch. I appreciated the fact that Pato doesn't behave like a brave hero, he behaves like most people would, he freezes up and soils himself. When Arbo is seen by the gunmen, crying over his fa ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Empathy begins with the recognition that everyone has a story" -Steve Schafer at the end of his author's note for this novel.

This book will wreck you.

In college I remember reading Coyotes by Ted Conover for an anthropology course. The accounts in that book are real stories, but what Schafer does in his fictional account of immigration is no less powerful. The journey of these four young teens is a way our students can become part of this dialogue with which our country wrestles. Schafer's wri
Sharon Mariampillai
I received a copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This was a great read. The story broke my heart. A day for celebrating turned into a day of terror. Pato, Arbo, Gladys and Marcos lost their family by the Narcos. I felt really bad for the four main characters as they fight for their own survival. I am glad that I finally got to read this book. It was in my ARC pile for a long time. I thought the story is needed to be heard by everyone. It was really a thought-provoking one. The
Gerardo Delgadillo
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

THE BORDER is an action-packed, fast-paced adventure where our heroes go across, well, the border. It's a fast read, too! It flows, and it's very entertaining. Although some of the events seem far-fetched, the sad truth is it happens. And it isn't pretty. I grew in Mexico and, believe me, the story feels authentic--kuddos to Steve Schafer for that.

In summary, THE BORDER is a fast-read thriller that feels
Susan Hampson
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author-reads
There was much to celebrate as the different families came together for the birthday party of a fifteen year old girl. While the party was in full swing four of the young adults, Pato, Arbo, Marcos and Gladys sneak off for a smoke away from the eyes of their parents. When they hear sort of cracking noises they recognise it for gun fire and soon discover that all of their families have murdered execution style and the men responsible for the killings are still there. Marcos manages to get a gun f ...more
T.J. Burns
Pato, Arbo, Gladys, and Marco are such genuine, well-developed characters, I feel I know them -- really know them. I had a stake in their fate – I needed to see them through their trials, to safely overcome incredible obstacles, and to reach their destination unknown. I was so emotionally involved in these four teenagers’ lives that I kept thinking about them long after I finished reading.

The fact that the fate and the journey of these four young people is not just fiction to so many, not just
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-books
I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This story was so raw, but I think that's what made it as good as it is. I really enjoyed the book and I think it's an important story to tell. It talks about gang wars and while I can't speak for the representation, it felt well researched and was definitely both interesting and heartbreaking at the same time.
Rosemary Standeven
This book starts slowly enough. Kids at a boring family and friends occasion in Mexico, celebrating a girl’s fifteenth birthday. Four of the teenagers – Pato, Arbo, Gladys and Marcos – escape for a quiet cigarette away from the adults and other kids. A few puffs (and coughs), then the book explodes with a bang – and another bang – and screaming. In a few short violent minutes, everything that was dear to the four has been obliterated by a hail of narco bullets.
Violence engendered by the drug lo
miss.mesmerized mesmerized
It was meant to be the great celebration as it is a tradition in Mexico: Carmen’s 15th birthday, the so called quinceañera to which many friends of the family were invited. But then suddenly shouting and gunshots. Just a couple of minutes later, almost all guests are dead, shot in the head. Only the teenagers Pato and Arbo, best friends since they were born, and the siblings Marcos and Gladys have survived because they had gone outside and could hide in the backyard. Then they are seen and they ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I was provided with an advanced copy of this book by Sourcebooks Fire and Steve Schafer in exchange for an honest review.
The Border is a book that deals with the topic of illegal immigration given the circumstances of a tragedy that happens to 4 Mexican teenagers during a birthday party. Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys have to cross the border after losing their families forcing them to deal with violence, death, pain, and trauma as they make their make across the border. Each of the main charact
Alyson Stone
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, teen-fic
Book: The Border
Author: Steve Schafer
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank Sourcebooks Fire and Steve Schafer for providing me with this egalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m not going to lie, whenever I first starting reading The Border, I didn’t think that I was going to like it. I am not a super big fan of immigration books and I have never read one about illegal immigrations. Plus, at first, I wasn’t drawn to the characters nor did I really care about the plot. I kept on goi
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
If only Pato would have said something about the mystery car that was parked outside on the street, perhaps things might have been different. But Pato dismissed the car once he was inside the party, overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of relatives and family, the birthday party was just beginning. As the boys smoked their cigarettes back behind the house, the real excitement was occurring at the party, excitement that will have lasting effects. It was the gunfire that brought the boy
Jennifer Strand
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was intense and beautiful in the most ugly way. It is unfortunate that those who most need to read this book won't even consider picking it up.

This story humanizes the political hot topic simply referred to as "border control". Those two words are so impersonal and are used to scare Americans into thinking that so many parts of our lives are negatively impacted by those who cross our border illegally. I admit my bias. I have empathy for these people and wish we would welcome them with open
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this as a free e-galley from Netgalley.

First thoughts as I finished: Wow. This was a situation unlike any I had read about or heard about in intimate detail. And as many other reviewers have commented, it's timely considering all the talk in the news about immigration, illegals and the need for a wall between the US and Mexico.

I'm personally Canadian so my exposure/experience to immigration is generally limited to legit immigration and refugees. The experiences these four teenagers de
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

From the moment they hear gun shots, the lives of Pato his cousin Abro, popular fellow student Marcos and Marcos' sister Gladys, are changed forever. From the minute they discover the blood bath where their parents and families have been killed, which ultimately leads to them crossing the desert from Mexico to the US, unprepared and with no clear idea of where they are headed.

The author does not hold back in showing us the h
I guess having read The Devil's Highway and a few takes on border crossing, this just didn't do anything new or interesting -- especially with the poorly-written, hard-to-buy romance. I appreciated how hard-faced Pato and Arbo are, especially after losing their entire families, but so much other stuff about emotions and feelings rang false to me. In part because it was either 100% there or 100% not there. I found some of the choices to be bizarre as well. Presumably, the characters all speak Spa ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing story about four teens who lost their families to a gang shooting and find their own lives are in danger. They have to leave their country and cross the border into the U.S. But is any place safe for them? I think a lot of readers will enjoy the fast pace of this book. The characters are understandable and complex. It also will bring up discussion about immigration and maybe make the readers think twice and feel some empathy. My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read ...more
Karen Hatch
What an awesome book! I have always realized that I am extremely lucky to have been born on American soil. I know that people who risk their lives to come to our country do so because they are trying to escape a terrible life somewhere else. I just wish more people had compassion and realized that we are all human and deserve a chance at a better life. There is room enough here for all who want to come!

I am a high school librarian and this will be one of the 4-5 books our students will have to c
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Good Braider
  • Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave
  • Under the Mesquite
  • Twelve Angry Men
  • Friends Forever
  • The Crooked Branch
  • Metaphors We Live By
  • Escape from Aleppo
  • The Rest of Her Life
  • Find Layla: A Novel
  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
  • The Distance Between Us
  • This Is My America
  • Dreamland Burning
  • Malorie (Bird Box, #2)
  • Dragon Hoops
  • Someone Else's Love Story
  • Land of the Cranes
See similar books…
Steve Schafer has a Masters in International Studies from the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Wharton. He grew up in Houston and has since had the privilege to live, work, volunteer, and travel internationally. The bulk of this experience has been in Latin America. His debut novel, The Border, was acquired by Sourcebooks Fire and released in September 2017. Steve ...more

Related Articles

If you ask us, it's always the perfect time to lose yourself in a page-turning mystery. To help you sleuth out a new read, we asked the...
90 likes · 80 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »