My book review of the excellent “Into the Beautiful North”, which is stylistically similar to my forthcoming novel, “ELOISA”, though it heads in the opposite direction of ELOISA’s southward journey:
All the able-bodied men went North, to the USA, seeking work. Since none returned, narcos and banditos threaten to take over sixteen-year old Nayeli’s tiny village of Tres Carmones in Sinaloa, Mexico. Her own father last sent a postcard from Kankakee, Illinois many years ago. With three young friends, Nayeli embarks on a quest to find a Magnificent Seven emigrant men to return to Tres Carmones and fight off the bandits. While in the USA, Nayeli will search for her own father and try to convince him to return home with her. Yes, the plan was crazy (how will they cross the border at Tijuana?), but, hatched in their remote town, it made sense.
This book is pithy and downright funny, page after page. I enjoyed Urrea’s narrative voice. Most of the characters are caricatures, both the Mexicans and Americans. Much humor revolves around “fish out of water” tales and Spanglish misunderstandings. After scares in Tijuana, the back third of the tale is a lot of fun, with Mexicans, whose primary exposure to the USA has been old Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner movies, on the classic Americana road trip. Serious issues are illuminated, too, related to immigration, racism, and even terrorism.
I recommend this read.