Fred Gorrell's Reviews > Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico

Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico by Malin Alegria
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's review
Jul 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction-youngadult
Read in November, 2010

This is a wonderfully exciting mis-adventure and cautionary tale. A high school senior who chafes under the strict rules her parents impose, lies to them and says she will spend the weekend studying for finals at a friend's house. In fact, they cross the border into Mexico for a beach weekend. On the way home, Sofi is detained at the U.S. border and learns that she is undocumented. Her parents never told her, as they didn't expect her to need to know and didn't want her to feel marginal. Stranded in Mexico, she lives with an uncle in very modest surroundings, trying to find her way back to her life, ideally in time to graduate with her class.

The story has a happy ending, but there is a disclaimer at the front sharing that it was inspired by a true story that did not end happily. Girls who like books in the genre of the Clique series by Lisi Harrison may make a connection to this book, which examines a broader set of social issues without leaving boy obsession behind.

Developing readers should be able to use this book to grow more comfortable with the ambiguities of social issues; the happy ending softens the message. The vocabulary is not complex and the story is told in continuous time. There are some characters who shift from good to bad, but the author provides ample foreshadowing and the shifts are quick, complete, and obvious.

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