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The Ballad of Huck & Miguel
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The Ballad of Huck & Miguel

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  37 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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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  54 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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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 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
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
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
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.
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
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 :)
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
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 we ...more
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
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
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.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! Last year my class was the first to read the book and we genuinely enjoyed it! This book is a must have!
Victoria Waddle
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A friend who has a daughter working with Friends of the LA River took a few of us on an LA River tour for our birthdays. It was odd to see the sections of the river that have a soil, rather than a concrete, bottom. Though narrow and contained by steeply sloping concrete walls, this section of the river provides a much-needed respite from the surrounding city. As the adjacent railroad tracks and their noisy trains turned away from the river, we saw more and more wildlife: geese, mallard ducks, co ...more
Amber Garabrandt
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it

This is Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, if he was alive today. Leaving a back-water town that hasn’t changed in decades, Huck is forced to go with Pap, his abusive father, to California. Having lived with all of Pap’s prejudices, there’s a lot to learn and understand as he moves further into today’s world. When he escapes his father, he begins his new adventure, learning about friendship, courage, and different walks of life. When things go south he and Miguel, an illegal immigrant he met at h
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I couldn't put it down, but I also couldn't give it a fifth star. That was at least partly because Huck's father was less and less believable as the story went on. I just couldn't believe a couple of the ambushes he set up, or how unsuccessful they were once they happened.
Also, the progression down the Los Angeles River, whose geography, felt like it was going in slow motion. Perhaps that's because some of the story, as described, should have led them to a river which was NOT the
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
The Ballad of Huck & Miguel by Tim DeRoche a free signed hardcover book from Redtail Press that I read from early October into late November.

My favorite part of this book was its beautiful etched ink and woodblock prints; other than that, Huck’s verbiage and accent is quite similar to the original Twain novel, though he and his drug dealer father Pap are travelling to California and experiences marvelsome, day to day adventures, usually risking his life. He meets Tom Sawyer, who is a kid fro
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Tim DeRoche takes on the task of updating and retelling Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - and does an amazing job at it. This telling is set in modern day Los Angeles and partners Huck with Miguel, a Mexican illegal immigrant. Although DeRoche maintains the essence of the original story, this one can stand out on its own. The social commentary is as relevant now as it was before, and Huck's unique language helps meld both versions together. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure from ...more
Clover White
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I adored the premise of this book, but I couldn't get past the first 30 pages. The books seemed to want to place itself in the modern era while having Huck retain the speech patterns of the 1800s. I found it annoying and jarring. I also questioned several times why a boy raised in the modern world would think like Huck did in this book. I work with very poor children in my library, and the author just failed in portraying that life. Very disappointing.
Susan Obryan
Mar 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
I appreciate writer Tim DeRoche's efforts, but the choice of dialogue presentation made this novel impossible for me to read. The stereotypical phrases and characterizations left me uneasy.

Instead of fueling my imagination, this novel left me dry and unable to plow through more than half of the book.

ARC provided by NetGalley.
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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