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The Other Side

Villalobos, Juan Pablo. (2019). The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border. (R. Harvey, Trans.) NY: Farrar Straus Giroux.


Young Adult. Non-fiction.

I purchased this book for the NHCC Library right after it came out. I only just now read it, and I'm very glad I took the time to do so. The stories in this book are all true stories, names changed, that the author collected from interviews with the young adults, conducted in Los Angeles and New York during the summer of 2016.


Information about the each of the refugees, a glossary, and a bibliography of further readings relating to refugees, migration, and asylum seekers can be found at the end of the book.


The journeys of these eleven young refugees show the hopes, desires, and strength it takes to leave everything one knows behind and travel through unknown and dangerous territory. The journeys are worth the risk though to leave behind violence and poverty. Once successfully in the United States, however, more uncertainty awaits the refugees as they deal with immigration processes, as well as language and cultural differences.


Crocodiles, gangs, holding cells (the freezer), drug cartels, unlikely friendships, death, snakes, family, and more comprise the stories in this gripping book. The book jacket proclaims, "Here is a necessary read for young people on both sides of the issue." I believe, however, this is a necessary read for all people on both sides of the issue.


Review by: Cassandra E. Osterloh, NHCC Librarian


Available in the NHCC Library: YA HV640.5 .C46 V55 2019

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