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The Ballad of Huck & Miguel

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  52 reviews
In this retelling of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tim DeRoche dares to imagine that Huck Finn is alive today. Chased by his vengeful and psychotic father, Pap, Huck escapes down the concrete gash that is the Los Angeles River with his friend Miguel, an illegal immigrant who has been falsely accused of murder. Riding the dangerous waters of a rainstorm, ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 270 pages
Published February 18th 2018 by Redtail Press
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“Ben wanted to stay there with me too, but I told him he warn’t old enough, seeing how he had just turned seven. I was almost nine years old, if you believed what my Pap said, which is the proper age for living wild out in the woods.”

The author says he hopes this retelling of Mark Twain’s much-loved classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, will encourage kids to read the original. This certainly modernises the familiar story of Huck paddling down the Mississippi River on a raft with ru
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Ballad of Huck and Miguel" is a beautiful and timely reselling of the classic Huckleberry Finn. This time Huck is on the run with an illegal immigrant. Much of the original is kept in place and somehow makes sense in modern times. I found this to be a definite indictment of our current culture. There are stunning illustrations included, as well. I recommend it highly for older young adults and adults.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Ana Garza
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book was written well and had beautiful illustrations. I loved The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Adventures of Huckleberry Finn when I was younger and a re -imagined version sounded right up my alley! The characterization was great and the story interesting.

Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This is funny, cute, and has a wonderful message, but it lacks the powerful narrative of the book it's attempting to pay tribute to. It also lacks the incredible spirit of adventure that made the original Huck Finn so memorable.

The general gist of the retelling is a good one, but the plot borders on absurdist too often, most notably with the father, who alternates from monstrous to comically inept in a way that makes little sense and seems structured as such mostly so that it conveniently fits t
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful hardcover book. Gorgeous illustrations by Daniel Gonzalez. And a thrilling adventure story on the LA River. It’s very funny too….the author has taken Huck Finn’s voice and brought it back to life in a really brilliant way.

This isn’t a book for kids, though. There’s violence and satire, and the language isn’t always easy.

I’m surprised no one has thought of doing this before.
Sharon Vander Meer
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Huck – yes that Huck – or a reasonable facsimile thereof, is back in all his boyish glory in this modern-day tale about a gutsy survivor. If you’ve read Mark Twain’s classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, you know Huck has experienced physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father, a violent drunk who Huck wants to believe has some good in him somewhere.

In this tale, Huck endures a journey across the country from Missouri to California, with Pap (Huck’s father), in search of fortu
Dawn Hogue
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Ballad of Huck and Miguel is a dope story, as Tom Sawyer would say, in this retelling of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where Huck is once again at the mercy of his unscrupulous pap, this time in California, where the two end up after journeying west from St. Petersburg, Missouri in a derelict camper. The intervening centuries haven’t taken the edge off Pap one bit. If anything he’s as ornery and lowdown as ever, and as before, to be truly safe, Huck needs to find a way to get away from ...more
Schuyler Wallace
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Tim DeRoche recreates Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” as taking place in modern Los Angeles and does a credible job. Perhaps there’s no need for such an endeavor, but why not? DeRoche decides to take a different time frame for Finn to focus on and it’s amusing to see how he lets Finn cogitate on what’s happening now.

Finn tries to escape from his abusive father, Pap, but Pap is difficult to shake off. He’s mean, with a miserable life of drinking, drugs, and abusing people. He’s dete
Phi Beta Kappa Authors
Tim DeRoche
ΦBK, Pomona College, 1992

From the publisher: In this retelling of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tim DeRoche dares to imagine that Huck Finn is alive today. Chased by his vengeful and psychotic father, Pap, Huck escapes down the concrete gash that is the Los Angeles River with his friend Miguel, an illegal immigrant who has been falsely accused of murder. Riding the dangerous waters of a rainstorm, the two fugitives meet a strange cast of Angelenos both animal
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly entertaining adventures of Huck Finn with a twist. He exists in the 21st century and meets up with villains and friends alike but the encounters involve 21st century societal dangers. Things get scary nearly every chapter and it seems that Huck will never find a safe space. Will he escape the clutches of this or that nemesis ? Are 21st century dangers worse than 19th century, the time period his character seems to have floated in from ? The reader is constantly torn between the two si ...more
Ian McLellan
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The author does a wonderful job of conjuring the original and weaving in the landscape of LA. Well written and the illustrations are awesome. Great read!
Kim Cabrera
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The classic tale of Huckleberry Finn is updated for a modern, urban generation. All the characters from Mark Twain’s beloved classic are here, but in slightly different roles. If you enjoyed the adventure of the original, you will like this one too.

This version is set in Los Angeles. Pap brings Huck to LA with him as he attempts to seal a drug deal, but things go wrong. Huck finds Tom Sawyer and the two become fast friends. Huck manages to get away from Pap with Tom’s help, and Judge Thatcher s
For me, it was a wild, amazing and very brave journey. The stories when they meet the good strangers, the good colonel, the snake that bites Miguel. And also when Huck had to find his antidote. But Pap did not give up and found them. The courage of Huck's attitude was tested on this journey. And with a very beautiful narrative language, Tim DeRoche describes this journey as a very binding main story. This story provides a valuable moral value to all adults. We do not have to look down on those w ...more
Jason Beeber
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great read, and a really nice way to revisit Huckleberry Finn. Tim DeRoche has done a loving job reinventing Huck's tale in a smart and often moving way. ...more
Jane LaFazio
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-reads
Just delightful! Well written, fast-paced, and imaginative. Fascinating to read and really great illustrations. A fine book! Our whole book club (men and women) really enjoyed this one.
Karen L Pogue
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it

Didn’t necessarily agree with some of the thoughts presented, but thought this was a wonderful tale of adventure. Enjoyed it immensely
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are a Huck Finn fan you’ll love this beloved story with an updated setting. I saw a segment on CBS Sunday Morning and purchased the audio version that moment. The author did a great job with the narration -staying true to the dialect-including malapropism. The updated parodies kept me guessing. I especially loved the modern take on the Grangerfords (modern day reality stars). A fun read/listen is you are a Twain fan
Susan Keller
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it . Great adventure story, with shades of societal commentary just like the original Huckleberry Finn. Recently read Huck Out West, another book based on the original, but much grimmer. Highly recommended for all
K Andrew
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading ARC now... review coming soon :)
Mridula Gupta
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it

This is a book that took me back to the good old days and left me happy and satisfied. An adventure that is bittersweet, full of childhood innocence and sense of friendship. Huck's love for Tom Sawyer is known universally, but his friendship with Miguel- a figment of the author's imagination was full of joy and totally acceptable. The author also talks about the life of illegal immigrants in search of shelter and money and how partial the law is to them. Whereas from the eyes o
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Brilliant! It’s a precarious task to remake such a classic, and thankfully, this one is very well done. Huck, still as endearing and practical as he was in the original, goes off to LA and befriends an illegal immigrant. They have all sorts of adventures, from self-flushing toilets to drug dealing gangsters. Sounds crazy, but it works! Bravo!
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every time I went looking for a new book to read The Ballad of Huck and Miguel showed up on my radar. I admit prejudice against this book. I was prepared to start reading and close the book within 50 pages. But then I got involved with the “the full true story of how ….. Huck went on the run from the ‘thorities with a real live illegal Mexigrant”. And what a run it was. I was swept up in the calamities which befell nine-year-old Huckleberry Finn including being “almost shot by a Man with a donke ...more
Louise Annetta
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well written, funny, poignant. A commentary on modern LA through the eyes of a modern Huck Finn
Irene Adam
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a free e-copy of this book and have chosen to write an honest and unbiased review. I have no personal affiliation with the author. Tim DeRoche updates Huckleberry Finn’s adventures to the present day. Huck travels from Missouri to Los Angeles for an adventure along the LA River. ‘The Ballad of Huck & Miguel’ is well written and follows the same language and tone with a similar plot as the classic that was written by Samuel Clemens in the mid 1800s. The characters are similar as well a ...more
Felicia Allen
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The author did an amazing job capturing the adventure and suspense of the Huckleberry Finn story. After his father is wanted for his part in a drug deal, Huck goes to live with two women. The stable hand, Miguel befriends him. When Huck's father shows up at the house one night and injures the women, Miguel saves Huck's life. They start on an adventure on the river that runs through LA. I love the fact that you could take Huck Finn from Mark Twain's novel, pluck him out of the pages, and put him ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love this book for two reasons... First, the way the author manages to mirror the dialect in Twain's original work is remarkable. The sheer feat of the language makes it so fun to read! Second, the overall concept of the book is both brilliant and timely. While still staying true to the spirit of Huck Finn, the author's modern-day choices (setting: L.A. River; Jim character: an undocumented immigrant) are fresh and thought-provoking. I wish I were still teaching high school English so I could us ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults, teens, middle school
DeRoche pulls off quite a feat here: updating the story of Huck Finn, setting it in the modern era with the character of Jim replaced by Miguel, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, and with their journey taking place on the spare Los Angeles River instead of the mighty Mississippi. Most risky of all, Huck narrates the story in a vernacular that is quite similar to that of his 19th-century counterpart, which would seem to make no sense in the 21st century. And yet it works. The characters and story ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A 21st century adventure story, The Ballad of Huck and Miguel by Tim DeRoche features Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, other familiar characters and some new ones. Huck finds himself in Los Angeles with his ne'er-do-well father who gets involved with some hoodlums and soon disappears. Judge Thatcher steps in to help Huck and pretty soon the adventure really begins. I don't want to give away anymore of the story. But I do suggest that you read this charming tale of Huckleberry Finn at his finest. Thank you ...more
Jay Hirsch
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was enjoyable and interesting to read. There is a political subtext, but the ratio of narrative to subtext was good and the subtext didn't undermine the drama. And there is some real drama. It's not like it's full of surprising twists, but it wasn't predictable despite being an homage to a novel I'm somewhat familiar with. And being familiar with Huck Finn may be helpful, but it's not at all necessary. ...more
Angie Hershey Boehm
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway some time last year and just got around to reading it.

I found this to be a faithful modernization of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. DeRoche did a commendable job updating Twain's classic tale to reflect current social issues.

I had a hard time getting into the story because it is written in the vernacular of an uneducated nine-year-old boy from Missouri, but that is in keeping with the original and no fault of the author.
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Born and raised in Milwaukee, Tim DeRoche emigrated to California to attend Pomona College, where he studied English literature. He is the author of three books, one published in 2018 and two to be released in 2019.

Tim has optioned horror screenplays to Maverick Films (Twilight trilogy) and Haxan Films (Blair Witch). He has served as executive producer and writer of the children’s science series G

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